HERBERT KLINE

Herbert Kline

Herbert Kline, 1938.
  • Heart of Spain 1937
  • Return to Life 1938
  • Crisis 1939
  • The Forgotten Village
  • Lights Out in Europe 1939

  • Herbert Kline grew up in Davenport, Iowa and traveled the country throughout his high school years. He began to write about the poverty he saw, publishing his works through the John Reed Club and in the journals The Left and Left Front. He wrote a one act play, John Henry--Bad Nigger, which was sold for production yet never performed due to lack of funds. In 1934 Kline became editor of New Theatre until 1937 when he joined the New Masses in producing propaganda for the Loyalist cause. He wished to be one of the best "foreign correspondents of the screen" who would present "human films" as opposed to "political films." 1

    In Spain Kline and Geza Karpathi were commissioned by the Canadian doctor Norman Bethune to make a film to raise money for the medical services. Although neither one had previous experience in making motion pictures, Heart of Spain was the result of Kline and Karpathi's ambitious and dangerous work. Kline soon returned to Spain to film Return to Life, which also focused on hospitals and how new technologies in medicine were helping the cause.

    Independent of Frontier Films, Kline again took risks in filming Crisis in Czechoslovakia, posing as a Nazi supporter to gain access to behind the scene events and rallies. In 1939 he moved his crew into Poland, capturing the German invasion in Lights Out in Europe. Kline continued to make films in later decades, including My Father's House, Walls of Fire and The Challenge of Modern Art, narrated by Orson Welles. Kline lived in London from 1980 until his death in 1999 at the age of 89.

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    1Alexander, William. Film on the Left. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press., 1981. (195).