- Written by Peter Burnett
Hans Christian Blech was born in February 1915 and became an actor until this was interrupted by World War II, where he served in Russia, and was wounded and taken prisoner of war. After the war he was a member of several ensemble theatre troupes, including the Schauspielhaus in Zurich and the Free People's Stage in Berlin, which ran successful socio-critical pieces.
As early as 1939, Blech was discovered for the screen, but his debut film The Last Appeal could not be completed due to the outbreak of war. Later, in films such as in Morituri, Blech often brought his war experiences to his roles. In Morituri, he plays Donkeyman, an ambiguous ship’s hand who ultimately acts as the leader of the crew on board the Ingo, at first distrustful of both Brynner and Brando, but ultimately having to side with one so that he and his men may make some sort of escape.
In Morituri Hans Christian Blech displays energy that nobody else, not even Brando can match in the film — it’s as if there are real sparks within him. He has the face of a survivor, and a physical fitness to match it, and to say that his seasoned looks lend much to the part is an understatement.
Hans Christian Blech was married to actress Erni Wilhelmi and died in Munich in 1993 and his final repose may be found in the Old Cemetery in his hometown of Darmstadt.