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The 3 Penny Opera (1931)
"Die 3 Groschen-Oper" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,140 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 28 critic

In London at the turn of the century, the bandit Mack the Knife marries Polly without the knowledge of her father, Peachum, the 'king of the beggars'.

Director:

(as G.W. Pabst)

Writers:

(text by), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Title: The 3 Penny Opera (1931)

The 3 Penny Opera (1931) on IMDb 7.4/10

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In Victorian London a man known as Macheath weds a girl named Polly and tries to elude her father's attempts to have him killed.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rudolf Forster ...
Carola Neher ...
Reinhold Schünzel ...
Fritz Rasp ...
Valeska Gert ...
...
Jenny (as Lotte Lenja)
Hermann Thimig ...
Ernst Busch ...
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Smith, the Jailer (as Wladimir Sokolow)
Paul Kemp ...
Mackie Messer's Gang Member
Gustav Püttjer ...
Mackie Messer's Gang Member
Oskar Höcker ...
Mackie Messer's Gang Member
Krafft-Raschig ...
Mackie Messer's Gang Member (as Kraft Raschig)
Herbert Grünbaum ...
Sylvia Torf ...
Whorehouse owner
Edit

Storyline

In London at the turn of the century, the bandit Mack the Knife marries Polly without the knowledge of her father, Peachum, the 'king of the beggars'. Written by Brian rawnsley <rawnsleb@natlib.govt.nz>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 October 1956 (East Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The 3 Penny Opera  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (censored) | (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:

(Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was banned by the Nazi Party in 1933 and prints of the film were destroyed. The film was restored and reconstructed in the 1960s. See more »

Connections

Version of The Beggar's Opera (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Die Dreigroschenoper
Composed by Kurt Weill
Libretto by Bertolt Brecht
See more »

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User Reviews

 
CLASSIC FAILURE
7 March 1999 | by (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This adaptation of Brecht/Weill's Musikspiel is considered by many a classic masterpiece. Classic it may be (and as such historically important), but a masterpiece it is not. I am not interested in the changes vis-a vis the play: recent research has found out that most changes were already proposed by Brecht himself and other research has found out that Brecht was not the writer at all, but Elisabeth Hauptmann. Nor am I interested in the fact that Weill's music is reduced and that not all songs are performed, which was unavoidable.

The point is that although there was real potential for a masterpiece (set designer, cast, director, cameraman etc.), Pabst never succeeds in making this adaptation into a real filmic adaptation. Scenes are presented in order, but never there is a feeling of a close and tightly held drama; the film is more or less subdivided. This may have been on purpose (considering the structure of the play), but for me it just does not work as film. It seems if no real choice was made between a documentation of the play or a truly filmic adaptation; what we are left with is something that lies in between, and that never comes alive. Are we seeing the result of all the (judicial) troubles director and writers had with Brecht and Weill? Or were the makers just too involved in making a masterpiece?

So, is this a mediocre or even bad picture? Certainly not. Individual scenes are fine due to sets and cast and the way in which Wagner and Pabst know how to use them (no room here to analyze this). But, on the other hand: do we really see or feel a menacing threat from the army of beggars? Do we really need Ernst Busch as the street singer?; do his scenes really add something? And are most songs not just registered as if they were performed on a stage? And is the editing not just adequate?

Today was my 5th or 6th viewing. I still cannot see why this film ever could be acclaimed a masterpiece.


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