Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mädchen in Uniform



1931 German Feature
Alternate Titles: Girls in Uniform / Maidens in Uniform

Cast: Hertha Thiele, Dorothea Wieck, Emilia Unda and Gertrud de Lalsky
Director: Leontine Sagan
Writers: Christa Winsloe and Friedrich Dammann, based on the play Gestern und heute (Yesterday and Today) by Christa Winsloe

Synopsis:
A sensitive girl is sent to an all-girls boarding school and develops a romantic attachment to one of her teachers.

Links:

Ratings:
  • Internet Movie Database: 7.5/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 100% / Audience: 88%

Buy/Rent:
  • DVD: Available
  • Book: Available



Video clip:


Awards:
  • Venice Film Festival Audience Referendum for Best Technical Perfection.

Notes/Trivia:
  • Is noted as the first feature film to be produced with an openly pro-lesbian storyline and one of the earliest narrative films to explicitly portray homosexuality.
  • Christa Winsloe's stage play was originally produced under the title Ritter Nérestan (Knight Nérestan). The title was changed to Gestern und heute (Yesterday and Today) when it was produced in Berlin with a more prominent lesbian theme.
  • Most of the film's cast had played the same roles on stage.
  • At first banned in the United States, it was eventually released in 1932, albeit in a heavily-edited version.
  • An alternate ending which subtly pandered to pro-Nazi ideals enabled continued screenings in German cinemas in later years, but eventually even this version of the film was banned as 'decadent' by the Nazi regime, which reportedly attempted to burn all of the existing prints. Thankfully, several prints had been dispersed around the world by then. The film survived the war but was heavily censored until the 1970s and was not shown again in Germany until 1977. However, the surviving prints of the film are still missing some scenes from the original release version. 
  • Said to have inspired the 1949 novel Olivia by Dorothy Bussy. First published anonymously, its story also dealt with lesbian love in an all-girls' school. It was adapted into the film Olivia (a.k.a. Pit of Loneliness) in 1951.

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