Gustav Ucicky (1899-1961) was a director of Nazi propaganda films and is believed to be the son of painter Gustav Klimt and his lover Maria Ucicka.
Ucicky made the 1941 anti-Polish Nazi propaganda movie Heimkehr (Return Home), which Austrian broadcaster ORF called “one of the most horrible creations of the Nazi film world”.
A retrospective of his work will be screened at Vienna’s Metro Kino from November 20th until January 11th. It opens with the film Der Postmeister (The Stationmaster ), made in 1940, which won the Mussolini Cup for best foreign film at the Venice Film Festival.
It coincides with a new book which examines Ucicky’s legacy, by Christoph Brecht, Armin Loacker and Ines Steiner. Brecht writes that Ucicky “was an opportunist who let the Nazis employ him and made quality cinema which proved to be hugely popular with the public".
He argues that Ucicky’s “cheeky and provocative silent films” deserve to be rediscovered and that a “more relaxed view of his life and work is long overdue”.
Largely ignored by his famous father, Ucicky was especially interested in strong female characters – single mothers and rebellious daughters – who had to make difficult decisions but had the courage to live an unconventional life.
The retrospective is supported by the Klimt Foundation, which was founded by Gustav Ucicky’s wife Ursula.