Rudolph Klein-Rogge

The Lon Chaney of Germany
Rudolph Klein-Rogge was a film and stage actor, working in Germany, France, and Italy. Best known for playing villains, his most famous roles were the evil scientist Rotwang in Metropolis (1927) and Dr. Mabuse in the two films that feature his name. But he was as mercurial as he was utilitarian;  sometimes unassuming when he seemed to be part of the set, and exploding out of the screen, when he seemed to be chewing that very same scenery.

In 1914, he married Thea von Harbou, whom he met when they both were acting in a theater in Aachen. Soon they were working in films, where Thea met director Fritz Lang.


Probably best known for playing Rotwang, the crazed scientist in Metropolis who builds the robot, "Evil Maria" who looks like the heroine, Klein-Rogge had the ability to rivet attention from the screen, using his gestures and facial expressions that could range from the benign to the totally unhinged.