Léo Lania

Leo Lania
Born 1896
Kharkov, Ukraine
Russian Empire
Died 10 November 1961
West Germany
Other names Lazar Herrmann
Occupation Screenwriter
Years active 1929-1962 (film)

Leo Lania (1896–1961) was a journalist, playwright and screenwriter.

He was born Lazar Herrmann to a Jewish family in Kharkov. Although born in Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire, Lania emigrated to Vienna and served in the Austro-Hungarian Army during the First World War. After the war he became increasingly involved with far-left politics and political theatre. In Germany he worked for the Communist-affiliated Prometheus Film and wrote The Shadow of a Mine (1929) for the Volksfilmverband.[1] He also produced the screenplay for G. W. Pabst's The Threepenny Opera (1931). During the late Weimar era, Lania worked with the celebrated theatre directors Max Reinhardt and Alexis Granowsky.[2]

Lania was forced to emigrate from Germany following the Nazi takeover in 1933. He eventually settled in France. He worked on several screenplays, including fellow emigre Robert Wiene's Ultimatum (1938). Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Lania was interned by the Daladier government. Lania subsequently made his way to the United States via Spain and Portugal.

Following the United States' entry into the war, Lania was employed by the Office of War Information. He later returned to Europe and settled in Munich.

Selected filmography


  1. Murray p.225
  2. Barton p.21-22


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