The man with the camera. Coburg's film historian
|Read more at|
The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Manfred Romboy, DGPh.
Copyright „Photo Antiquaria“ Club Daguerre
A. Brückner, Coburg's film historian, with his 16 mm single lens reflex
camera „SR16“ by Arnold & Richer in the Court Garden of the famous Coburg
Fortress. At the age of 18 Jürgen could make the transition to 16 mm size.
First camera: a Bolex H 16 with three lenses in the turret. (Brückner-archive).
Jürgen A. Brückner, born in 1941, virtually inherited the passion for films.
In 1938 his father, Rudolf Brückner, a factory owner in Coburg, bought a
Siemens film camera. His father bought the camera so that he could film both
of his sons at the time. Whether at children's birthday parties or school
parties one could always hear the purring sound of father's film camera
which was very much part of these events. It was no surprise that the crafty
Jürgen managed to get his father´s camera´s up and running when he was a
child. This meant that much of his fathers stock of undeveloped film got
In 1955, after his 14th birthday, he got his first film camera: the fancy „Movikon
quer“, a camera for the double 8-films which had been on the market since
1932. However, these films were in fact 16 mm wide and rolled on a 7,5 m
fitting daylight spool. Initially only half of the film was exposed in the
camera, then the film passed over the aperture a second time. During the
developing stage this 16 mm wide film was centrally separated in the film
laboratory. The amateur got 15 mm film on a reel which was only 8 mm wide.
The „Movikon quer“ was the first substandard film camera developed by the
West German company Zeiss Ikon AG after the Second World War and for
shooting it was held like a camera with both hands directly in front of the
|More in 70mm reading:|
Der Mann mit der Kamera. Coburgs Filmchronist
Der Reisefilm "Flying
Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln" in Deutschland und in den USA
MCS 70 Superpanorama Camera
on Display in Schauburg
New 70mm print of
whole pride and joy of collector Brückner: An MCS-camera with 65 mm wide
film as was used for shooting the film „Flying Clipper“. (Photo: Romboy)
At that time the considerably more expensive film size 16 mm and it’s
cameras were advertised with the slogan „For the ambitious amateur“.
Certainly Jürgen Brückner was ambitious. When he was 18 years old he bought
a „Bolex H 16“-camera with three lenses in the turret. As a 16 mm film-maker
he could also archive the „higher film specifications“. Because of that he
established the „Coburg film club“.
However man does not live by films alone. Jürgen completed his schooling and
obtained secondary school level. Despite his great dream to become a
cameraman he started an apprenticeship as a machine fitter, following in his
fathers footsteps. When Jürgen finished his apprenticeship he really wanted
to move from the small town of Coburg to the film metropolis of Munich. His
parents always had in mind that his brother should take over the family
enterprise and this allowed him to move to Munich and attend a business
school. In addition to his new schooling Jürgen tried to make new contacts
with film-makers in Munich and also took a course to become a cameraman
offered by a private institution. It was only in 1966 that the University
for Film and Television was founded in Munich. Perhaps Jürgen Brückner could
have persuaded his father to finance his film studies and perhaps he would
have been able to go to Hollywood like Michael Ballhaus. Perhaps, perhaps,
However, not before too long both his uncle and his brother died in Coburg
and Jürgen was asked to return in 1966 to become the successor in the family
machine building company. First as sales manager and then from 1980 onwards
as managing director of Gustav Brückner GmbH. Pro´s and con´s for a factory
owner's son. A pro in so far that Jürgen A. Brückner could develop his
skills with both the „Bolex-camera“ and also the „Arriflex SR“ safe in the
knowledge that he was in a financially secure family situation.
home cinema with a screen which is two meters high and five meters wide. The
auditorium is six meters wide and eight meters long and has ample space for
private guests. (photo: Romboy).
In 1968 the Bavarian Broadcasting acquired the services of the self-taught
cameraman with all of his professional equipment. For the series „Unter
unserem Himmel“ he filmed underwater sub-marine shots for the film „Spaziergang
unter Wasser“. In 1971 he also acted as film merchant and acquired the movie
rights for his favorite movie, the feature film
"Flying Clipper - Traumreise
Unter Weissen Segeln"
which was produced in 1962 in 70 mm film size. A feature-length movie about
the trip of a Swedish sailing ship used for training across all parts of the
Mediterranean Sea. It was largely thanks to Jürgen Brückner that the film
returned to cinema’s once again – in both 70 and in 35 mm size. Copies were
also created for both 16 mm and super 8 projectors. There was no money in it
for Jürgen – he was just glad that no losses we incurred during this
adventure into the film industry. During the time he collected used 35 mm
feature film prints which he could then screen in a moderate low-rise
building next to his parents' house.
Whenever Jürgen had free time he was filming. The films „Oktoberfest“ and „König
Ludwigs Schlösser“ where ordered from his archives, plus he also had a lot
of industry and advertising film opportunities. Meanwhile Jürgen not only
had film know-how but also purchased the highly professional „SR-16“
Arriflex-camera and his productions where rather impressive.
In 1982 there was a royal visit to Coburg. The Swedish royal couple, Carl
Gustav and his wife Sylvia, visited Coburg where they have family ties.
Naturally Jürgen Brückner was present with his camera during the whole
event. There was an opportunity to remind the king of times they had
together in the past: in the Court Garden in Coburg when Brückner was 13
years old he had to take care of the heir to the throne who was 6 years old
at the time. Carl Gustav's grandmother, duchess of Coburg, was a friend to
Brückner's grandmother. During the heir's visit they often said: „Jürgen,
take care of the Gustav“!
Film-making was always an important part of Jürgen´s life. He decided that
he wanted to get into the more demanding 35 mm cinema size and out of this
the 45 minute film „Spaziergang nach Syrakus“ and several other advertising
films arose. What is worth mentioning is that they were not made to make
money but rather came out of a passion for film. Jürgen also somehow managed
to find time in between his busy film hobby to marry in 1973 and became the
father of two children. As a newlywed Jürgen needed to plan his new home and
priority was given for a home cinema in the basement. The dimension of the
cinema was a result of the desired projection screen size. Being a fan of
large screens he decided that a screen of 5 x 2 meters was required.
With a projection distance of 8 meters and a width of 6 meters for the
auditorium a remarkable home cinema was born which would give the cinemas of
Hollywood stars a run for their money. Additionally available: a projection
room with projectors and amplifiers, of course for the film sizes 35 and 70
mm. On the same floor there is also a large stock of film prints plus a
cutting room for 16 mm film. When Brückner's architect was faced with
various demands for the basement he said: A proportionate house must be
built on top. And this is what was done.
Brückner during the light test of one of two „Bauer U 3“ projectors for 35
and 70 mm films. (Photo: Romboy)
More and more of Brückner's film activities were talked about in the Coburg
area and he received a lot of historical film strips as a result of
donations, discoveries in lofts and from private and public archives. As a
result his film archive „Coburger Filme from 1924 – 1985“ developed rapidly
kinemathek-coburg.de“ on DVD). Another notable achievement is when
Jürgen became board member of the „Coburger Historische Gesellschaft“. Under
the title „Franken schwarz-weiß – die ersten Filme aus Coburg“ the Bavarian
Broadcasting created a 45 minute film together with Jürgen Brückner.
Jürgen who is now 73 years old retired from his family business a few years
ago. This means more time for films. Currently you can find more than 1300
feature films in 35 mm and 30 films in 70 mm size in his archive, stored in
every corner of the house! His wife Johanna is not that thrilled to be
living with so many film reels however she sometimes cannot hide the fact
that she is rather proud of her husband's „film career“. Although Jürgen is
not officially a collector of film equipment in 2013 he couldn’t resist
purchasing the old 65 mm film camera
which was used for filming
„Onkel Toms Hütte“, „Old Shatterhand“, „Der Kongress amüsiert sich“, „Die
schwarze Tulpe“ and „Die Verfluchten der Pampas“.
Today in addition to the existing cinema projectors a brand new SONY 4-K
projector can now be seen in his projector room. Jürgen A. Brückner is also
a member of the Club Daguerre.
Copyright „Photo Antiquaria“ Club Daguerre
|Go: back - top - back issues - news index