Bruno Monden was born in Berlin on April 6, 1900. Although he was trained as a theater painter, he mainly worked in film. His first film project was Erich Engel’s Gefährliches Spiel (1937). Throughout his career, he collaborated with many internationally known directors, including Falk Harnack, Georg Tressler, Georg C. Klaren, Wolfgang Staudte, Helmut Käutner and Paul Verhoeven. During WWII, Monden also designed his own film sets, teaming up with colleagues, including set designer Karl Machus (Spiel auf der Tenne, Katzensteg). Monden was involved in the production of many propagandistic love and entertainment films for Nazi cinema.
After WWII, Monden was one of many former UFA employees who joined the newly founded DEFA Studio in Potsdam-Babelsberg in 1946. Together with set designer Otto Hunte, he worked on the first German postwar film, Die Mörder sind unter uns, by Wolfgang Staudte. Hunte and Monden used original locations in war-torn Berlin for their intriguing sets. He designed the sets for two more DEFA films, Razzia and Wozzeck, before moving to production firms located in the western part of Germany.
Monden’s long-term collaboration with set designer Hermann Warm—known for his work on Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (1920, dir. Robert Wiene) and Der müde Tod (1921, dir. Fritz Lang)—started in 1947, with Wozzeck at the DEFA Studio, and continued in West Germany until the end of the 1950s. They worked together on many movies, including Morituri (dir. Eugen York), the first German film that dealt with the Holocaust, which tells the story of concentration camp prisoners who escaped at the end of WWII. Morituri premiered at the 1948 Venice Film Festival. It was actor Klaus Kinski’s first film and the postwar production debut of producer Artur Brauner. One of their many other collaborations was Victor Trivas’s controversial sci-fi horror film, Der Nackte und der Satan, an exception in the western film scene which was otherwise filled with sentimental love and Heimat stories. In the following years, Monden was responsible for the realization of set design ideas by film architect Franz Bri. From the mid-1950s until he retired in 1970, he decorated the sets for Wolf Englert’s designs, and they teamed up on several films, as well as the very successful television crime series Der Kommissar. In 1963, Monden shared the German Film Award for Best Set Design for Das schwarz-weiss-rote Himmelbett with film architects Max Mellin and Jürgen Rose.
Bruno Monden died in Munich on July 5, 1980.
|1970||Wer klingelt schon zur Fernsehzeit? (Who’s Knocking While We’re Watching TV?, TV)|
|1970||Dr. Meinhardts trauriges Ende (Dr. Meinhardt’s Sad End, TV)|
|1969-70||Der Komissar (The Crime Inspector, TV series)|
|1965||Ich kauf mir lieber einen Tirolerhut (I‘d Rather Buy a Tyrolean Hat)|
|1965||Tausend Takte Übermut (Thousand Beats of High Jinks)|
|1963||Das schawarz-weiss-rot Himmelbett (The Black-White-Red Four-Poster Bed)|
|1960||Brücke des Schicksals (The Bridge of Fate)|
|1960||Conny und Peter machen Musik (Conny and Peter Make Music)|
|1959||Der Nackte und der Satan (The Naked Man and Satan)|
|1958||Unruhige Nacht (Restless Night)|
|1958||Das Mädchen Rosemarie (Rosemary)|
|1957||Ein Stück vom Himmel (A Piece of Heaven)|
|1957||Vater unser bestes Stück (Father, Our Pride and Joy)|
|1955||Roman einer Siebzehnjährigen (The Story of a 17-Year-Old)|
|1954||Ewiger Walzer (Eternal Waltz)|
|1954||Eine Frau von heute (A Woman of Today)|
|1952||Herz der Welt (The Heart of the World)|
|1951||Das ewige Spiel (The Eternal Game)|
|1950||Land der Sehnsucht (Land of Desire)|
|1949||Königskinder (Star-Crossed Lovers)|
|1948||Vor uns liegt das Leben (We’ve Our Lives Ahead of Us)|
|1947||Razzia (The Police Raid)|
|1946||Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are Among Us)|
|1944||Der Engel mit dem Saitenspiel (The Angel with a Harp)|
|1938||Heiratsschwindler (The Marriage Con Artist)|
|1937||Es leuchten die Sterne (The Stars Are Shining)|
|1937||Katzensteg (Cats’ Bridge)|
|1937||Gefährliches Spiel (Dangerous Play)|
|1937||Spiel auf der Tenne (Play on the Barn Floor)|