Marius Goring: A German only in the movies
MARIUS GORING was a homicidal maniac before World War II. He has been a Nazi officer since the war.
A character actor whose name sounds German but who is as English as afternoon tea, Goring said he once took the part of a mad killer in a London play and was immediately typed.
"From then on, it was homicidal maniacs for me," he said. "Then the war was over and I suddenly found myself a German."
Goring was in France to act the role of a Wehrmacht major in a new film about the Normandy invasion of 1944, "Up From the Beach." It makes about a dozen times that he has performed the role of a German in World War II uniform, starting as a colonel in "So Little Time" with Maria Schell.
"I keep going up and down in rank," he said. "Mostly I have played officers."
Actually, Goring thinks he has too much rank in his present film portrayal of a captured major who was occupation commandant of a small French village.
"It's a gross error," he said. "I should have been a sergeant."
Of his German roles, he remembers best the general he played in a picture called "Ill-Met by Moonlight" and the Luftwaffe general he did in a television film, "The Devil's General."
He said most of his own countrymen think he is German because his name is similes to that of Hermann Goering who headed the Luftwaffe in World War II.
"Goring is a completely English name," he said, pointing out such placenames in England as Goring on Thames, Goring Gap and Goring on Sea in Sussex, where he came from.
"Goering came to London in 1938 and tried to find a connection with the Goring family for political reasons, but he couldn't," he said.
Adding to Goring's German image is his German wife, Lucie Mannheim, a leading actress in Germany before 1933 and after the war. Also he speaks German so well that he has appeared in Berlin theatrical presentations.
"I was in Munich for more than a year as a student," he said. "During World War II, I talked to prisoners and got to know a certain type of senior officer and the way that they thought."
During World War II, Goring was an enlisted man in the Queen's Royal Regiment. Later, he was connected with the British Foreign Office as a political commentator making broadcasts to the German-speaking countries under the pseudonym of Charles Richardson. In 1944-45, he was a member of the intelligence staff of SHAEF.
"I was then a full colonel," he said. "I used to pray, `Dear God, let me meet up with my old regiment.' They would have had to present arms."
Goring was trained at the Old Vic dramatic school and played with that company as well as the Royal Shakespeare company in Stratford. He still makes regular appearances in London theaters.
The actor is a big man with blond hair and blue eyes. In a German uniform, he is a model for soldierly bearing.
"I trained as a dancer in the beginning and I go back to dancing class when I am in London to keep in shape," he said. "It's a form of discipline."
How long does Goring think he will continue to be a German officer in the movies?
"Well, I hope it goes on, because I understand it," he said. "But, of course, I don't want to do it until I drop."