Who’s Conrad Veidt? Unless you are a cinephile, you probably don’t recognize the name. But you might remember the character he played in Casablanca (1942), which is one of my favorite films of all time. He played the part of Major Heinrich Strasser, the Nazi.
Casablanca is one of the greatest most influential films of all time. TheGreatestFilms.com has it ranked #5, and with a name like that, they must know what they are talking about. At some point I’ll have an article on why I think it’s so timeless and I’ll add a link here.
If that weren’t enough, Conrad Veidt had quite a career before this. Let’s go back to the beginning when he was acting in the German Golden Age of film, and stared in the first horror film ever made. Veidt played the part of Cesare, a “somnambulist” (someone who has been sleeping all their life… very creepy), in the 1920 film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Happy 100th birthday to this film! That’s right, this was the first horror film and it has influenced every horror film made since.
Also impressive, but later Conrad Veidt played a role that would eventually influence a character you certainly have seen before. Just look at this picture! Who does this remind you of?
This is Veidt at Gwynplaine in the film The Man Who Laughs (1928). Yeah, that is definitely the Joker.
Finally, Conrad Veidt plays the character named Jaffar in The Thief of Bagdad (1940). Seems like I’ve seen another character named Jaffar before… or was it Jafar? Close enough. Just look at him.
If it isn’t ringing a bell, maybe you’ve been living under a rock and have never seen the animated film Aladdin (1992).