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Junge, Alfred (1886-1964)

Production designer

Main image of Junge, Alfred (1886-1964)

Alfred Junge, in film from 1920 as art director at Berlin's UFA studios, came to Britain in the mid-1920s with director E.A. Dupont, and spent the rest of his career there.

He headed Gaumont-British's production department between 1932 and 1937 at a time when its head, Michael Balcon, was trying to compete with Hollywood, and where his craftsmanship and technical expertise influenced many British directors and other technicians.

At Gaumont-British, Shepherd's Bush Studios, he gave a distinctive look to such generically diverse films as The Ghoul (d. T. Hayes Hunter, 1933), the wonderfully glamorous Jessie Matthews musical, Evergreen (d. Victor Saville, 1934), and to several Hitchcock thrillers, and, at MGM-British, to the nostalgically recreated public school world of Goodbye, Mr Chips (d. Sam Wood, 1939).

His greatest artistic triumphs, though, were his collaborations with Powell and Pressburger in the 1940s, particularly A Matter Of Life And Death (1946), with its "staircase to Heaven" and celestial court, and the Oscar-winning Black Narcissus (1947), the latter magically recreating the Himalayan convent in Pinewood and Horsham, Surrey. Michael Powell later rated him as "probably the greatest art director that films have ever known".

In the 50s he headed MGM-British's production department, responsible for transatlantic productions such as Ivanhoe (d. Richard Thorpe, 1952).

Book: Accent on Design: Four European Art Directors by Catherine A. Surowiec (1992).

Tim Bergfelder, Encyclopaedia of British Cinema

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of 'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)

Metaphysical love story, beautifully filmed in the Scottish Hebrides

Thumbnail image of Black Narcissus (1947)Black Narcissus (1947)

Remarkably passionate melodrama set in a Himalayan convent

Thumbnail image of Canterbury Tale, A (1944)Canterbury Tale, A (1944)

Weird and fascinating tale of modern-day pilgrims in WWII

Thumbnail image of Contraband (1940)Contraband (1940)

Atmospheric wartime Powell and Pressburger spy thriller

Thumbnail image of Cuckoo in the Nest (1933)Cuckoo in the Nest (1933)

Ben Travers farce about a series of comical misunderstandings

Thumbnail image of Evergreen (1934)Evergreen (1934)

Jessie Matthews plays two roles in this Rodgers and Hart musical comedy

Thumbnail image of Fire Raisers, The (1933)Fire Raisers, The (1933)

Michael Powell 'quota quickie' about a gang of arsonists

Thumbnail image of Friday the Thirteenth (1933)Friday the Thirteenth (1933)

Drama about the lives of various people involved in a bus crash

Thumbnail image of Gangway (1937)Gangway (1937)

Jessie Matthews musical about a reporter involved with a gang of crooks

Thumbnail image of Ghoul, The (1933)Ghoul, The (1933)

Early sound chiller starring Boris Karloff

Thumbnail image of Good Companions, The (1933)Good Companions, The (1933)

Adaptation of J.B. Priestley's popular play about a performing troupe

Thumbnail image of Jew Süss (1934)Jew Süss (1934)

Adaptation of Lion Feuchtwanger's novel about an ambitious Jew

Thumbnail image of King Solomon's Mines (1937)King Solomon's Mines (1937)

Empire adventure about the hunt for legendary African diamond mines

Thumbnail image of Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The (1943)Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The (1943)

Ambitious wartime saga which infuriated Churchill

Thumbnail image of Man Who Knew Too Much, The (1934)Man Who Knew Too Much, The (1934)

The original version of Hitchcock's classic man-on-the-run thriller

Thumbnail image of Matter of Life and Death, A (1946)Matter of Life and Death, A (1946)

Romance fantasy bridging the gap between two worlds

Thumbnail image of Night of the Party, The (1934)Night of the Party, The (1934)

Early Powell murder mystery with Ernest Thesiger and Leslie Banks

Thumbnail image of Piccadilly (1929)Piccadilly (1929)

Late silent classic of envy, desire and murder in a London nightclub

Thumbnail image of Red Ensign (1934)Red Ensign (1934)

A visionary shipbuilder strives to rescue the British shipping industry

Thumbnail image of Silver Fleet, The (1943)Silver Fleet, The (1943)

WWII propaganda film set among the Dutch resistance

Thumbnail image of Waltzes From Vienna (1933)Waltzes From Vienna (1933)

Hitchcock musical comedy (!) about the Viennese waltz king Johann Strauss II

Thumbnail image of Young and Innocent (1937)Young and Innocent (1937)

Hitchcock thriller about an innocent man suspected of murder

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Thumbnail image of Powell, Michael (1905-1990)Powell, Michael (1905-1990)

Director, Writer, Producer