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Broken Lullaby (1932)

 -  Drama  -  24 January 1932 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 444 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 7 critic

A young French soldier in World War I is overcome with guilt when he kills a German soldier who, like himself, is a musically gifted conscript, each having attended the same musical ... See full summary »



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Title: Broken Lullaby (1932)

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Cast overview:
Dr. H. Holderlin
Fraulein Elsa, Walter's Fiancée
Phillips Holmes ...
Paul Renard
Louise Carter ...
Frau Holderlin
Lucien Littlefield ...
Herr Walter Schultz
Tom Douglas ...
Walter Holderlin, German soldier killed by Paul
Anna, Holderlin's Maid
Frank Sheridan ...
George Bickel ...
Herr Bresslauer, Dress Shop Owner
Emma Dunn ...
Frau Miller
Reinhold Pasch ...
Fritz's Father
Rodney McLennan ...
War Veteran (as Rodney McLennon)


A young French soldier in World War I is overcome with guilt when he kills a German soldier who, like himself, is a musically gifted conscript, each having attended the same musical conservatory in France. The fact that the incident occurred in war does not assuage his guilt. He travels to Germany to meet the man's family. Written by Steve Owen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

24 January 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broken Lullaby  »

Box Office


$889,154 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »


Quand Madelon
(1914) (uncredited)
Music by Camille Robert
Lyrics by Louis Bousquet
See more »

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User Reviews

Atypical Lubitsch
27 September 2003 | by (Ottawa) – See all my reviews

Is this really a Lubitsch film? I discovered "The Man I Killed" aka "Broken Lullaby" the other night and my feelings are somewhat mixed. The film concerns a young French soldier, Paul, that has killed an equally young and able German soldier, Walter, in the trenches during the final days of World War I. Paul is constantly overcome by feelings of guilt and remorse and he travels to a small German town where the dead soldier's family lives. The family thinks he is Walter's dear friend. Paul's presence in the town outrages some folks, but in the family he is their son and replaces the dead soldier. Paul confides to Walter's Fiancee, Fraulein Elsa, about his real relationship to Walter, but she discourages to tell the family because it will create more problems and ultimately disrupt the wholesomeness of the family.

In many ways, "Broken Lullaby" is Lubitsch's most atypical film. Remarkable how the director of sparkling and sophisticated comedies and operettas could come up with such ambitious, deeply serious subject like "Broken Lullaby". Although I was kind of moved by the film's overpowering message of pacifism and wholesomeness, I can't help feeling that this is not the sort of picture Lubitsch should have made in the first place. At times, it feels unbearably heavy-handed & preachy as it relentlessly tries to make its pacifist, anti-war message palatable to the viewer. But that does not mean a remotely mediocre movie. It is just different for Lubitsch.

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