Camilla Horn

The Girl who out-foxed the Nazis

Right the way through the thirties Wembley was used to rapidly pile out the ‘Quota quickies’ or B films as they call them in the US of A. IMDb have a list of some of them here.  The BFI have an even better one as most of these movies are now lost forever. One of them starred Camilla Horn. You’ve probably never heard of her. However a young unsigned Bruce Springsteen had, as he wrote a song about her in the 1970s. It was never released but it appears on a bootleg album called “Early Years”.300full

Camilla had worked as an extra alongside Marlene Dietrich in the silent movie ‘Tartuffe’ she was also was the hypnotic beauty who replaced American mega star Lillian Gish in F.W. Murnau’s masteCamilla 2rpiece ‘Faust.’ (Yep he’s the bloke who did Nosferatu.) She trod the boards at Wembley in a movie called ‘Matinee Idol’ (1933) I’ve never seen this movie so I’d be pleased to hear from anyone who can tell me where to get a copy. This German born actress originally trained as a dressmaker before she graced the silver screen. She was eventually signed by United Artists and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Charlie Chaplin and more importantly Joseph M Schenck. She developed a dangerous habit during WWII of publicly telling the Nazi’s they were twats. (yes I’m paraphrasing)  (I think she phrased it with more elegance.) The Gestapo ripped apart her luxury villa in Berlin looking for an excuse to end her, probably the way her character (Gretchen) ended up in Faust. She tried to hide in Switzerland but ended up in Italy making a bunch of forgotten films.  She even worked as a farmer and after the war served as an interpreter for the American armed forces. For God only knows what reasons, the British tribunal at Delmenhorst convicted her for various offenses (among them; travelling without permission) and she was imprisoned for three months at the women’s prison in Vetcha.

In 1974 she was awarded the ‘Filmband in Gold’ for lifetime achievement in German movies. She also received best actress at the Bavarian Film awards in 1987

“Camilla Horne, she was born a long, long time ago. She came from Germany to the U.S.A. and was acclaimed as the next Garbo.”

“They came to her on their knees, to bless them, caress them
and tell them what they need.
But oh, oh, she did not know
And so she took her place at the bar
Just another fallen star”

-Bruce Springsteen

Not sure Brucie got the full story as she was still acting in 1988. 1926 to 1988 that is just Incredible.


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