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October 02, 2006
The Threepenny Opera
I chose to cover The Threepenny Opera for a number of reasons. The direction was by G. W. Pabst
who directed Pandora’s Box which comes earlier in the course. This helps to build up the knowledge profile of a particular director.
The film was made at a politically interesting time in 1931 when the economic depression was still deepening nearly two years after it had started. Political polarisations were deepening along with the depression. The cinematography was done by Fritz Otto Wagner. There is a brief profile of him below. Wagner was the cinematographer on two of the classic films of the period that are covered in the course. His abilities clearly show that this was no coincidence.
The musical score was written by Kurt Weill and the adaptation was from a play by Brecht. Brecht felt that the handlng of the film destroyed the political and aesthetic modes of his play and took out a law suit against the producers.
Cabaret singer Lotte Lenya appears in what seems to be her only screen role.
Those should be reasons enough :-).
Fritz Arno Wagner
One of the best and most experienced cinematographers in the Weimar period. He stayed within the industry during the Nazi period. Wagner had worked with Pabst before as director of photography on Westfront 1918. Wagner worked on many important films of the Weimar period including Murnau’s Nosferatu, Fritz Lang’s M, Spione (1927 / 28) and the earlier der mude Tod (1921) and even on Lubitsch’s 1919 classic Madam Dubarry (1919). For a full list of credits go to Deutsch Film Portal
Useful link at the Senses of Cinema Site
Another link to Threepenny Opera