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Two musicians, Hans and Peter, are out of work. They make regular visits to the booking agent, but there's no work. After several false starts, they are desperate, and when they hear that an all-woman band, the Alpine Violets, have been let down and are desperate for two female musicians, they know that fate is knocking for them. When they hear that the band is going to a luxury Alpine hotel to record a gramophone record, they can't wait to get on board. They enlist the help of a friendly makeup artiste and practise their girly body language. After a street test they are sure they pass, so it's back to the agency to volunteer. They pass a quick audition, so it's down to the station for the night train to Ingolstadt, with the rest of the band. They get introduced to all the other girls, who are already in their pyjamas in their sleeping berths. After a lot of giggling and innuendo, fortunately they are in their own compartment for the night. Next morning, the train hasn't yet reached ... Written by
Someone taped this film from German TV for me and I was stunned to discover just how closely Billy Wilder followed the plot in creating his masterpiece "Some Like It Hot."
Wilder has commented that this film inspired him because it contained a single scene in which a pair of hungry out of work musicians joined an all-girl orchestra.
The entire film deals with the two musicians who join an all-girl orchestra. There is a gruff older band leader, a la "Sweet Sue"; a band singer who both men fall in love with; an overnight train ride to a resort in Bavaria; much switching in and out of drag to woo the band singer, and close escapes from being unmasked.
Granted, SLIH is in every way a far funnier and better crafted film. The shift of time frame to Roaring 20s America gives it added energy as well as a period sheen that also comfortably distances the audience from the film's gender-bending humor.
Nevertheless, the two male leads in FANFAREN play 'refined' German ladies of a certain age with great comic timing, then pose as the 'cousin' and 'brother' of their doppelgaengers.
FANFAREN is a low-budget comedy, lacking the star power, production values or memorable music of its Hollywood successor.
Grethe Weiser, who plays the "Sweet Sue" role, was a venerable supporting comic actress who appeared in several of Zarah Leander 1940's spectacles. She alone provides a commanding presence here.
I wish some creative programmer would get a print of this film and screen it with SLIH, so audiences could see the similarities and differences for themselves.
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