The Threepenny Opera details
|Starring:||Lucy de Matha, Gaston Modot, Margo Lion, Reinhold Schunzel, Florelle, Fritz Rasp, Rudolf Forster, Vladimir Sokoloff, Carola Neher, Albert Prejean, Valeska Gert, Lotte Lenya, Jacques Hennieux|
|Director:||Georg W. Pabst|
|Genres:||Music/Musical, World Cinema|
The Threepenny Opera - German Version
|TBC Disc 1|
The Threepenny Opera - French Version
|TBC Disc 2|
|Run time:||3 hours 23 minutes|
|Rental release:||06 Dec 2004|
|Main languages:||German, French|
Most helpful review
Historical atmosphereBy a customer from London, United Kingdom , 04 Apr 2005
[Highly rated reviewer]The fact that this film was produced, which is clearly has left wing views, in 1931 during the rise of the Nazi's give the film a unique atmosphere. The combination of Weill and Brecht still has the power to fillet the corruption of power, both political and moral. Not everday viewing, but shows how little things change!
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Art-haus gemBy Gavinder (20 reviews) from London , 09 Nov 2011I thought this would be a dull 1930's film, but this is an extraordinary original film with high quality production values, and some great songs. Its a little slow here and there, but the delicate performances and cynical songs make this film a treat.
In particular, it is a great example of the Cabaret genre, and shows the artistic talent of Wiemar Germany at its best.
Cheap at the PriceBy Seedyvee (207 reviews) from Grantham , 17 Oct 2010How interesting it was to watch this politically and morally subversive film of Weill's opera produced on the eve of Nazi Germany. And how the Germans had depicted Victorian London. The film nevertheless always maintained a stage-set feel and the camera-work especially was most imaginative. Castings may be surprising for those familiar with The Beggar's Opera. Though not very much of it, Weill's music has a hauntingly nostalgic and autumnal sadness about it.
Beggar's OperaBy Bill Johnson from Leamington Spa , 25 Apr 2007The 18th. century ballad play The Beggars Opera by John Gay intended as a satire attacking the politicians of his day Robert Walpole was very successful. In 1928 Bertholt Brecht renamed and revamped Gays work into an attack on the corruption of the power elite of his own day making politicians and industrialists indistinguishable from the gangsters and other low-lives. It was Brechts play that Pabst adapted and softened to make his version of the Threepenny Opera in 1931 three years after Brechts musical play had appeared. He also used the music written by Kurt Weill for Brecht. Pabst was immediately subject to a lawsuit from Brecht. Two years later, even though Pabst had toned down the political comment, as soon as the Nazis came into power in 1933 the film was banned.
Whilst not having the same critical status as some of the earlier German silent films such as M or Metropolis or Pabsts own Pandoras Box it is still a landmark work in early German cinema. By 1931 most if not all cinemas had installed sound systems and Hollywood studios were in full flow churning out the new talkies. They were often fairly crude affairs because one of the problems was that the sound had to be recorded at the same time as the picture because dubbing was not yet invented and there were problems in reducing the extraneous noise particularly that of the camera itself which was placed in a sound proof box. This makes Pabsts film even more remarkable because some of the camera movements engineered by Fritz Arno Wagner are very elaborate for their time.
The sets, especially those in the thieves kitchen are also impressive. Clearly influenced by the German expressionist movement of the previous decade they are boldly lit to lend a real atmosphere of menace to those scenes. These scenes are interspersed with lighter ones where Pabst mocks the corruptness and ineffectualness of the police and the scene where the Queen is confronted by the beggars is a masterpiece.
Although the singer who acted as a sort of chorus and who has the job of singing Weills most famous song Mack the Knife was good the other players were less convincing. Rudolf Forster as Mackie had a marvellous presence and projected a real atmosphere of menace until he opened his mouth. Unfortunately his voice was very high and when he sang he had so much vibrato it was reminiscent of a nanny goat. Carola Neher (Brechts one-time lover) had a better voice but was not particularly expressive or convincing in her role as Polly Peachum although Lotte Lenya as Lucy Diver did stand out amongst a very average cast. Despite its shortcomings it is a film well worth seeing for all lovers of early cinema.
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A gem of thirties cinemaBy Daniel Lawson from Huddersfield, England , 22 Jan 2007As with other films of the time, i.e. All quite on the western front, it is quite suprising how quickly cinema came to terms with talkies. This, the german version of Threepenny Opera was made just two years after the advent of the talkies. It is in equal parts funny, sexy, musical and politically biting. But I suppose you would expect that from Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weil. If you enjoy watching classics of the cinema this is a must.
A unique view from a republic in declineBy a customer from Reading, England , 29 Nov 2006Bert Brecht wrote The Threepenny Opera for stage, with music penned by his sometimes collaborator Kurt Weill. Based on John Gay's The Beggars Opera, Brecht set up a powerful indictment of the capitalism in the environment of Germany in the early 1930s: mass unemployment, hyper-inflation and growing fascism. When it came to make a film version of the story, however, things went a little wrong. Brecht ended up in litigation with the film producers, eventually getting cut out of the proceedings. The chaos of the production mirrored the politics in the streets, which saw the fight between left and right increasingly violent and disordered. The film made it out of the studios just in time to be banned by the Nazis. It is a striking and interesting film, if not completely faithful to Brecht's vision or possessing the grit of a Fritz Lang film.