Venus im Frack [Venus in Evening Wear] (1927)

Venus im Frack
Director: Robert Land
Writer: Ladislaus Vajda, Erich Nossen
Cast: Carmen BoniEvi Eva, Georg AlexanderMax HansenIda Wüst, Albert SteinrückHenri De Vries
With music by: Rana Farahani, Ursula Winterauer
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 24.10.2016

Dorothee d’Espard (Carmen Boni) is an emancipated woman and a lawyer working on divorce cases. If it were up to her, she’d divorce every woman from her husband. Needless to say that she doesn’t even think about getting married. Her best friend Hortense (Evi Eva) and right hand seems so share Dorothee’s views, but only pretends to hate her husband Georges (Max Hansen). When Georges’ best friend Charles (Georg Alexander) meets Dorothee, he actually finds her intriguing and so Hortense, George and Charles come up with a plan to cure her of her misandry.

Venus im Frack is so incredibly sexist and misogynistic, it basically becomes its own persiflage, also helped by the fantastic and very modern music that accompanied the screening. But I shudder to think that people actually took it seriously at some point.

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Die 3 Groschen-Oper [The 3 Penny Opera] (1931)

Die 3 Groschen-Oper
Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Writer: Béla Balázs, Léo Lania, Ladislaus Vajda
Based on: The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill
Cast: Rudolf Forster, Carola Neher, Reinhold Schünzel, Fritz Rasp, Valeska Gert, Lotte LenyaErnst Busch
Seen on: 13.02.2015

Mack the Knife (Rudolf Forster) knows what he wants and he takes it any way he can, which is also possible with the help of his old friend Tiger Brown (Reinhold Schünzel), chief of police. Mack decides that he wants to marry Polly (Carola Neher). Polly agrees, but her father Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum (Fritz Rasp) knows nothing about it. But Peachum is not to be trifled with. From running the beggar’s guild, he has both money and influence which he both uses to pressure Tiger Brown to finally arrest Mack.

In the description of the film it was mentioned that Brecht himself hated this version of his opera. Generally the Threepenny Opera is a bit of a household brand but I didn’t know much about it before seeing the film. I did recognize some of the music that I didn’t know was from the opera, and I knew that it was about Mack the Knife, but other than that, I was completely fresh to the experience and I can’t understand Brecht’s hatred at all. It was a delightful film.

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