Alfred Travers

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Alfred Travers (b. Constantinople, 08/08/1906 – d. **/**/****) was primarily a film director.

Biography

Born Alfred Karl Ludwig Jungermann in what today is Istanbul, Alfred Jungermann was educated in Turkey, Switzerland and England. He directed two shorts in Germany when he was in his twenties and is credited as assistant director on Ihr Leibhusar (1938), a musical featuring Magda Schneider and directed by Hubert Marischka, which was filmed in Hungary. He was in England by the time World War II broke out and was briefly interned as an “enemy alien”. This seems to have been a bureaucratic formality, as during the war he worked on several documentaries for the British Council and the Ministry of Information, first as editor or associate producer, and then as director.

In England he had been using the name of Alfred Travers and in 1947 he was granted a Certificate of Naturalisation. After the war, he had joined British National Films and directed a few features, including Meet the Navy (1946), a film featuring a diverse troupe of performers recruited from the Canadian Navy in a revue that had previously been staged at the London Hippodrome, and Dual Alibi (1947), which featured actor Herbert Lom in a dual role. He also had a fruitful relationship with Paul Czinner, the Viennese-born filmmaker who produced a number of film versions of plays, ballets and operas. Thus he was credited as technical director on Czinner’s Mozart’s Don Giovanni (1955), The Bolshoi Ballet (1957), The Royal Ballet (1959) and even a musical presented by the Moral Re-Armament movement entitled Jotham Valley (1952).

It is probably his familiarity with filming stage shows that resulted in him being recruited by Sven Persson when it was decided to make Raka, a three-part ballet film, one section of which featured a work by Frank Staff based on the epic poem by N.P. van Wyk Louw, set to music by Graham Newcater and with Juan Sanchez, Veronica Paeper and Ken Yeatman in the leading roles. This was followed by a film version of the play One for the Pot by Ray Cooney and Tony Hilton, with Brian Rix in the leading role. After that he was due to direct the film Insident op Paradysstrand (1971), but a falling out with the producer resulted in him departing this project. In between he also worked on commercials at the Alpha Film Studios in Johannesburg and, together with Percy Baneshik, wrote the book and lyrics for the stage musical Eureka! (1967/68). At this stage it is not known where he went subsequently. (FO)

Trivia

His naturalisation file held at the British National Archives at Kew cannot be accessed until 1 January 2065 on the grounds that it “contains sensitive personal information which would substantially distress or endanger a living person or his or her descendants”.

Sources

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

Peter Noble - The British Film Yearbook 1949-50

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C11851707

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