Change of heart

Continental-Kunstfilm-Gesellschaft was a Berlin based production company that emerged in spring of 1912.1 Originally founded as Schmidthässler-Film-Gesellschaft on October 23, 1911, by Max Rittberger and the actor Walter Schmidthässler the company was later converted to Continental-Kunstfilm-Gesellschaft (in this article abbreviated as CF).2

The original Schmidthässler-Film-Gesellschaft was dissolved around May 1912 by the director of the company Max Rittberger.3 While Walter Schmidthässler was director of Schmidthässler-Film-Gesellschaft he no longer had this position at Continental-Kunstfilm-Gesellschaft. Instead Adolf Zimmermann acted as general manager together with director Max Rittberger from the very start of the company on February 5, 1912.4 The mentioned Adolf Zimmermann could be the former owner of a Berlin based agency for the Düsseldorfer Film-Manufaktur Ludwig Gottschalk that operated in 1911.5 For Max Rittberger there is no evidence of an involvement in the film industry prior to his venture with Walter Schmidthässler.

Every company with the legal form of a limited company like the CF was obliged to report changes regarding the company to the responsible business register (Handelsregister Abteilung B for limited liability companys). This was formally done by addressing the change in a written statement to the Amtsgericht Berlin Mitte (local court) that was responsible for the company‘s entry. In case of the CF the entry was no. 10467. Those changes were occasionally published in trade journals. The Lichtbild-Bühne for example used the category Neu-Eröffnungen und Eintragungen for such business notes.

Business letter from August 7, 1912, by CF to Amtsgericht Berlin Mitte.

A statement regarding changes to the company was made on August 7, 1912, by Max Rittberger. He wrote that Adolf Zimmermann was no longer employed and therefore his position as general manager had to be removed from the register.

Business letter from August 13, 1912, by CF to Amtsgericht Berlin Mitte.

Six days later Max Rittberger wrote again to the Amtsgericht Berlin Mitte to request a notarised copy of the altered entry. At the same time he proclaimed to be the only person authorised to sign in the name of the company.

Side note: Meanwhile CF seems to have obtained a stamp with the Company‘s name. This was used to print the name below the complimentary close instead of typing the information individually with every letter.

Business letter from September 5, 1912, by CF to Amtsgericht Berlin Mitte.

On September the fifth Max Rittberger wrote again to the Amtsregister Berlin Mitte only to inform them that the previous request to remove Adolf Zimmermann as general manger from the register was forfeited. Again he requested an updated notarised copy of the entry for which four Mark were invoiced by the Amtsgericht Berlin Mitte as visible by the stamp with the title Kostenrechnung (bill of charges) and the corresponding handwritten details.


Exchanging the general manager only 6 month after the company‘s formation seems like an odd move. Changing back and forth even more so.


The images used are from reproductions made by myself.


Trade journals can be accessed on the Internet Archive and newspapers via Deutsches Zeitungsportal. The business letters a privately owned.

  1. Lichtbild-Bühne, no. 12, 23. April 1912, page 4 ↩︎

  2. Lichtbild-Bühne, no. 46, 18. November 1911, page 22 ↩︎

  3. Berliner Börsen-Zeitung, no. 233, 13. May 1912, page 25 ↩︎

  4. Berliner Börsen-Zeitung, no. 127, 15. March 1912, page 17 ↩︎

  5. Der Kinematograph, no. 221, 22. March 1911; Der Kinematograph, no. 246, 13. September 1911 ↩︎

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