Midnight Revue

(Revue um Mitternacht)

GDR, 1962, 106 min, color
In German; English subtitles
Credits:
Director
Script
Dramaturg
Editor
Camera
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Cast

Synopsis

Famous producer Otto Kruse brags that he will produce a successful, new kind of revue film. When the project is close to failing, he orders his stage manager to “do what it takes.” Soon his young female assistant finds herself holding a dramaturg, composer and set designer hostage in a villa—with orders to keep them there until they create a cheerful revue film. The hostages fear it is impossible to please both the public and the critics. Only a young, brash, unknown musician who has insinuated himself into the group is enthusiastically inspired to create an opulent film revue and impress the young assistant producer.

 

 

Commentary

This East German backstage film musical—a colorful spectacle and tour de force of music and dance genres—is filled with clever references to Hollywood revues. It exemplifies the GDR’s push to create box-office hits and compete with West German productions. Sparing no expense, the revue was shot on chromogenic Agfacolor Wolfen film stock and in Totalvision, East Germany’s version of CinemaScope.

Press comments

“[This film] offers an allegory of an artistic community cut off from the world and forced to create a state-approved, cost-effective, innovative new musical for the masses.” 

—Evan Torner, Directory of World Cinema: Germany

 

“Kolditz uses humor to go to places that no other East German filmmaker dared.”

—Jim Morton, eastgermancinema.com

 

“[This is] the only truly spectacular musical revue made by DEFA and it’s also presented in the tradition of Brechtian epic theater….”                               —Andrea Rinke, Film’s Musical Moments

 

“Anticipated by millions! Finally, DEFA has released its great revue film. A rousing, zippy, modern film that sets new standards.”  —Original Midnight Revue film trailer

 

 

“Manfred Krug, already popular as a singer, plays the star of the revue and proves that the Babelsberg studios could make movies like Hollywood. The film is resplendent with expensive sets and costumes, incredible CinemaScope images and special effects. […] A great revue from the East!”  —cinema.de

 

 

“Manfred Krug’s jazz and soul inspired performances are remarkable. A 4-channel magnetic sound and widescreen spectacle.”  —epd film-dienst

 

 

“Like in Hollywood films, the story of Midnight Revue ends in a grand finale. The ballet corps of the Deutsche Staatsoper and Friedrichstadt-Palast Berlin, and pop stars including Nicole Felix, Julia Axen, Helga Brauer, Fred Frohberg and Hartmut Eichler dance and sing in colorful revue scenes set in Paris and the South Pacific.” —rs, dhm.de

 

 

"This film negotiates between classic American jazz, Cold War counter-culture, the schmaltzy German revue tradition, risqué cabaret, and Soviet big band folk dance entertainment.” —Evan Torner, Univ of Cincinnati

Availability

Special features:
  • New digitally restored transfer
  • Biographies & Filmographies
  • “Singing and Dancing for Socialism,” by film historian Andrea Rinke
  • Original trailer
  • Original poster

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