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Romance in a Minor Key (1943)

Romanze in Moll (original title)
A grieving husband tries to uncover the truth behind his wife's suicide, leading him to discover a tragic tale of infidelity and redemption.



(screenplay), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Madeleine's husband
Elisabeth Flickenschildt ...
Doorkeeper's wife
Karl Günther ...
Jeweler (as Carl Günther)
Eric Helgar ...
Michael's brother
Karl Platen ...
Michael's servant
Anja Elkoff ...
Walter Lieck ...
Tall man
Ernst Legal ...
Hard-of-hearing man
Hans Stiebner ...
Fat man
Hugo Flink ...
Klaus Pohl ...
Leo Peukert ...
Cafe proprietor


A grieving husband tries to uncover the truth behind his wife's suicide, leading him to discover a tragic tale of infidelity and redemption.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

25 June 1943 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Det gaadefulde Smil  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Madeleine's husband: [Inquiring about the symphony performance] Is it over?
Madeleine: [Implying her hopeless situation] Yes... Yes, it really is all over.
See more »


Referenced in The Silver Moonlight (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Love triangles collide tragically
6 January 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Romanze in Moll (1943) aka Romance in a Minor Key is a poetic realism kind of noir. It involves one overt classic love triangle. But also there is a 4th lover who creates two more triangles!

The initial crane shot of Parisian-style rooftops is an immediate tip of the hat to the poetic Carne influence.

The story has a complex flashback structure, often a noir feature. An insightful foreign review writes "In addition to the extraordinary imagery that plays cleverly with chiaroscuro contrasts and here and there, reminding one of Orson Welles' masterpiece "Citizen Kane", Käutner stunned with an innovative narrative style. He told his drama in the form of multiple flashbacks, leaps in time and changing perspectives. The non-linear narrative technique requires a lot of attention of the audience and was at the time of Romance in a Minor Key's creation an absolute novelty."

The story echoes Madame D. The sets and camera work echo Ophuls but are not as good. Before the story ends, every one of the 4 major characters will suffer or die. Goebbels, to the movie's credit, didn't like it: "Marriage and morals destruction and defeatist"

I didn't like this film particularly. I couldn't get into the performances of two of the leads (Marianne Hoppe and Ferdinand Marian). The other two, however, were great: Paul Dahlke and Siegfried Breuer. The latter is a very notable contributor in "The Third Man". He's Popescu. These two fill out their parts very richly, especially Dahlke. But the Hoppe-Marian affair didn't click in my romance book. Hoppe was so stiff as compared with an actress like Ava Gardner.

Hoppe is unhappily married to Dahlke, a bank accountant. Marian plays a rich composer who sweeps her into being his mistress. Breuer is a spoiler. Dahlke's boss, he gains leverage because he learns that Hoppe is Marian's mistress.

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