Pierre de Wet

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(b. Pretoria, 22/08/1909 - d. Johannesburg, 24/06/1990). Stage, radio and film actor, director, dramatist, film director and theatre administrator. Started in film, playing the role of the boy in the first Afrikaans sound film, Moedertjie (filmed for African Film Productions by the producer Joseph Albrecht and directed by Stephanie Faure in 1931). He then left to work in England for a few years (1932-1939), largely doing musical comedy (e.g. The Cat and the Fiddle, Wild Violets and Streamline). As a stage actor he had a special talent for broad comedy and returned to begin his professional stage career with André Huguenet in As die mure kan praat ("If the walls could talk"- 1939/40?**), Dietrichstein’s Is jy ‘n bokryer? [“Are you a Mason?”- 194*], Helshoogte (Afrikaans version of Wuthering Heights, 194*). Then had a joint company with Huguenet called Teatergroep[?*], to do Absolom, My Seun! On 1 August, 1942 he broke away to begin his own touring company with stars like Paula Styger, James Norval and Anna Cloete. They toured 1942-43 with the plays Satansloon (an Afrikaans version he made of Gaslight) and Pinkie (a play he wrote, based on an expansion of the "Pinkie" role he had done in Absolom). In 1944 he retained Anna Neethling-Pohl, Jan Cronjé and Gert van den Bergh of the Volksteater as actors to expand his company, and did Die Goeie Oue Tyd by Sita (1944), Pinkie (again, under the auspices of Volksteater). In 1944 he directed his last stage work, Ontvlugting (W.A. de Klerk) before returning to film as medium and play a significant role as actor and director in the development of the Afrikaans film, particularly at Killarney Studios during the late 1950s and 1960s. Among his own films (in which he often starred) were Donker Spore (1945), Pinkie se Erfenis (based on the play Pinkie, 1946), Simon Beyers (based on the play Die Goeie Oue Tyd, 194*) and Kom Saam Vanaand (based on Jan Pohl's musical comedy In 'n Skewe Straatjie, 19**). He also at various times during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s managed the Johannesburg Civic Theatre. His radio work includes the lead in a famous broadcast of Aeschylus's Agamemnon (tr T.J. Haarhoff, dir Anna Neethling-Pohl, 1942). (See Du Toit, 1988) [TH, JH]


FILM CAREER

In August 1931, a young Pieter (Pierre) Stephanus de Wet acted the role of “die seun” in the first Afrikaans sound film Moedertjie, based on In die Wagkamer, a one-act play by J.F.W. Grosskopf. Though it was to be nearly 15 years before he returned to the film medium, he was instrumental in setting up an infrastructure under the auspices of African Film Productions that produced a series of popular Afrikaans features. Many of them were light comedies and no fewer than six of them starred the popular duo of Al Debbo and Frederik Burgers. In fact, Burgers was one of his favourite actors and they made eleven films together, with De Wet either directing or producing. His first film as director was Pinkie se Erfenis (1946), with the director himself in the title role. It was his only film for the short-lived Utolo Films. All the others were made for AFP or its various incarnations – Afrikaanse Rolprentproduksies and Suid-Afrikaanse Rolprentproduksies. His last film as director was En die Vonke Spat (1961), though he made a few guest appearances in productions by others. Initially he acted in his some of his films and he was invariably involved in aspects of the writing. He was married to actress Eugénie Heyns, who acted in four of her husband’s early films. (FO)


CREDITS

AS DIRECTOR

Pinkie se Erfenis (1946), Geboortegrond (1946), Simon Beyers (1947), Die Kaskenades van Dokter Kwak (1948), Kom Saam Vanaand! (1949), Altyd In My Drome (1952), ‘n Plan Is ‘n Boerdery (1954), Vadertjie Langbeen (1955), Matieland! (1955), Dis Lekker Om Te Lewe (1957), Fratse In Die Vloot (1958), Nooi Van My Hart (1959), Oupa En Die Plaasnooientjie (1960), En Die Vonke Spat (1961)

AS PRODUCER

Hier’s Ons Weer! (Hyman Kirstein/1950), Alles Sal Regkom! (Hyman Kirstein/1951), The Foster Gang (Percival Rubens/1964)

AS ACTOR

Moedertjie (Joseph Albrecht/1931), Pinkie Se Erfenis (Pierre de Wet/1946), Geboortegrond (Pierre de Wet/1946), Simon Beyers (Pierre de Wet/1947), Die Kaskenades Van Dr. Kwak (Pierre de Wet/1948), Alles Sal Regkom! (uncredited) (Hyman Kirstein/1951), Altyd In My Drome (Pierre de Wet/1952), All The Way To Paris (uncredited) (Jamie Uys/1966), ‘n Seder Val in Waterkloof (Franz Marx/1978), Nicolene (Marie du Toit/1978), Skating On Thin Uys (Bromley Cawood/1985)

AS WRITER ONLY

As Ons Twee Eers Getroud Is! (with Jan Perold) (Jan Perold/1962)

Sources

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1795132/?ref_=fn_nm_nm_1


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