The Other Oscar

12 Mar

Dear Flynnstones,

2023 marks the 100th birthday of outstanding Austrian actor Oskar Werner. Vienna celebrates this terrific thespian with an exhilarating exhibition in one of the oldest cinemas alive, the theatre boothed METRO KINO.

While Werner and Flynn very probably never met, I couldn’t help but notice parallels between the two men, who could draw an audience by name alone. Both were promoted to demi-god status early. Errol went from Blood to Hood, Oskar from Hamlet to leading lad. The two were hailed, held back, written off, resurrected and rediscovered by an industry which applies band aids to searching souls in the form of cheques, contracts and chateaus.

Hollywood will eventually give you an Academy Award for a life of misuse and abuse, provided one survives it.

Watch it again tonight,




— shangheinz


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Ralph Schiller

    March 13, 2023 at 6:51 pm

    Thank-you Heinz for honoring this gifted, sensitive actor Oscar Werner.

    • shangheinz

      March 14, 2023 at 7:38 am


      Sensitive is the word here, Ralph. Werner was one of the youngest stage actors ever to get a call up from the Burgtheater, the most renowned theater of German language. He never even finished school to persue his dream of reciting. Then he got drafted into the military in WWII. “If I didn‘t have you, I don‘t know what I‘d do.“, he wrote his mother from the frontlines. He would draw from the trauma for his roles as Nazi officers. The black dog of melancholy would follow him eversince.

      The picture above shows him settled as a star in Café Sacher at the press conference for “Witness of the prosecution“ with Wilder and Laughton. Why? He had been married to Tyrone Power‘s step daughter Anne before. Mrs. Waltraut Haas went sightseeing with Power at the occasion..
      Werner had son Felix, also an artist, with Diane Anderson, the daughter of Joan Bennet. So he and Flynn frequented the same circles.

      While watching “Ship of Fools“, I detected traces of Erben, who also tried to escape the grasp Nazi Germany as a ship doctor. But while Doc Erben was a sympathisier hindered by his Jewish descent to blend in, Oscar Werner was a stoic, somewhat resignative, humanist in opposition of dictatorship.

      One senses a man, who was constantly asking himself in real life too, “To be or not to be…“. Being no quitter he like Errol took to the bottle. They literally died the same death.