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Seymour Nebenzal

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Seymour Nebenzal
Born(1899-07-22)22 July 1899
Died23 September 1961(1961-09-23) (aged 62)
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1927-1961

Seymour Nebenzal (22 July 1899 – 23 September 1961) was an American-born Jewish-German film producer.[1][2] He produced 46 films between 1927 and 1961.



He got into film production through his father Heinrich Nebenzahl (1870–1938) who in the early 1920s worked with German action star Harry Piel.

In 1926 Heinrich Nebenzahl and director-producer Richard Oswald founded the company Nero-Film. As head of this company Seymour Nebenzal became one of the most important producers of the transition period from silent to sound film in Germany. He worked with the directors Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Arthur Ripley, Douglas Sirk, Harold S. Bucquet, Edgar G. Ulmer, Léonide Moguy, Paul Czinner and Fritz Lang among others.

In 1933 the Nazis forced him into exile.[3]


In Paris he produced films by other exiles from Germany such as his cousin Robert Siodmak and Max Ophüls as well as Anatole Litvak, Fedor Ozep, and Raymond Bernard.


In 1939 he went on to Hollywood where he became one of the first independent producers. He made films with Edgar G. Ulmer, Douglas Sirk, Léonide Moguy, Arthur Ripley, and Albert S. Rogell. He produced remakes of his successes from the early 1930s: Siren of Atlantis with Maria Montez and M (1951), that was directed by Joseph Losey.[4]

In October 1946 he paid $150,000 for the world rights to Madame Butterfly.[5]

He signed Jean-Pierre Aumont to a three-film contract following Atlantis.[6] He had screen rights to Look Homeward, Angel but the film was not made.[7]

Maria Montez successfully sued him for unpaid salary for Atlantis.[8]

He died of a heart attack at his Munich home.[3]

Associate producer of M (1951) was his son Harold Nebenzal (31 March 1922 in Berlin – 14 February 2019 in Los Angeles) who became a script writer (The Wilby Conspiracy), film producer (Cabaret, Gabriela) and novelist (Cafe Berlin). Harold was in charge of foreign film production for many years for MGM, and also worked on many of the films of Billy Wilder including Fedora; Wilder was Harold Nebenzal's closest friend for 30 years. Seymour had years earlier made possible Wilder's first film, People on Sunday, by borrowing the needed funds to make the picture from his father, Heinrich Nebenzahl, the first in the line of three Nebenzal motion picture producers.

Selected filmography

Further reading

  • Erika Wottrich (Ed.), M wie Nebenzahl. Nero - Filmproduktion zwischen Europa und Hollywood, Munich, edition text + kritik, 2002


  1. ^ "Seymour Nebenzal". Film Portal. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  2. ^ McGilligan, Patrick (1997). Fritz Lang: The Nature of the Beast. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 169.
  3. ^ a b Seymour Nebenzal Dead at 63 Produced 'M' and Other Films New York Times 28 Sep 1961: 41.
  4. ^ NEBENZAL, PLANS REMAKE OF FILM New York Times 13 Apr 1950: 34.
  5. ^ Nebenzal, Film Producer, Pays $150,000 For World Rights to 'Madame Butterfly': Of Local Origin Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. 24 Oct 1946: 44.
  6. ^ Hedda Hopper LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD Los Angeles Times 11 Apr 1947: 9.
  7. ^ ETHEL BARRYMORE MAY DO NEW FILM New York Times 31 Oct 1947: 29.
  8. ^ MONTEZ WINS SUIT FOR UNPAID SALARY: $38,000 Judgment Is Awarded to Actress by Coast Court-- Nebenzal Is Defendant By THOMAS F. BRADY Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. 3 Jan 1951: 23.
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Seymour Nebenzal
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