This film follows the creation of Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo. Brecht finished his first draft of the play in three weeks in November 1938, while in exile in Denmark. It was his response to the rise of fascism in Germany, as well as to the increasing responsibility of scientists in society. The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima while Brecht and actor Charles Laughton were working on an English stage adaption, and Brecht rewrote the play incorporating this latest event that he considered a betrayal of humankind.
Galileo premiered at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles on July 30, 1947. In 1955-56, Brecht rehearsed his play at the Berliner Ensemble.
This documentary includes original sound recordings of Hanns Eisler, who set the play to music, and of Brecht and actor Ernst Busch discussing the Galileo role. It also shows scenes of the play from the 1947 Coronet Theater staging with Charles Laughton and from a 1978 Berliner Ensemble rehearsal with Ekkehard Schall.