Leontine Sagan



Leontine Sagan (born Leontine Schlesinger, February 13, 1889 – May 20, 1974) - was an Austrian actress and theatre director.

Born in Budapest, Sagan trained with Max Reinhardt. The first and most widely known of her two films is Mädchen in Uniform (1931). It had an all-female cast and was ground-breaking not only for its portrayal of lesbian and pedagogical eros, but also for its co-operative and profit-sharing financial arrangements. Sagan herself was a lesbian.

An alternate ending of the movie, which pandered to pro-Nazi ideals, enabled the film to be screened in Germany, but eventually even this version of the film was banned as 'decadent' by the Nazi regime and Sagan fled Germany soon after. Sagan briefly worked on films with Alexander Korda in England, but then moved to South Africa and founded the National Theatre of Johannesburg.

The film Mädchen in Uniform, based on the novel by Christa Winsloe, survived but was much-censored until the 1970s. Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with helping to revoke its censorship in the USA. It was recently released in its surviving form as a video-tape, with English subtitles, in the USA in 1994 and in the UK in 2000. Even this version probably lacks sections that were in the original and for a full understanding of what may have been censored, viewing the film may best be followed by reading the original novel by Christa Winsloe.

She died in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1974 at the age of 85.