After abandoning a military career because of injury, Benatzky earned a doctorate in German philology and studied music with Mottl. He began writing song lyrics and conducted in Munich, eventually working as a director for a cabaret in Vienna, where he also wrote songs and lyrics for Josma Selim, his future wife. He composed several operettas, including the revue-style operettas Casanova and Im weissen Rössl (White Horse Inn). In addition to his work for the stage, Benatzky wrote many film scores and over 5000 songs.
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