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Playing for Time (1980)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | Music  -  30 September 1980 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 623 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 7 critic

Female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp (Auschwitz) are spared from death in return for performing music for their captors.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(autobiography The Musicians of Auschwitz),
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Title: Playing for Time (TV Movie 1980)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Fania Fenelon
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Alma Rose
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Mala
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Olga
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Etalina
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Elzvieta
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Paulette
Donna Haley ...
Katrina
Lenore Harris ...
Charlotte
Mady Kaplan ...
Varya
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...
Michou
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Frau Schmidt
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Marianne
Marcell Rosenblatt ...
Giselle
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Storyline

In World War II, the Jewish French musician and cabaret singer Fania Fenelon Goldstein is sent by the Nazis from Paris to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The guards take her clothing and luggage and they cut her hair very short. One day, when she is very weak, she hears someone asking whether any prisoner could sing Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly and she joins the group of musicians that have been spared from the gas chambers to entertain the Nazis performing music for them. She convinces the conductor Alma Rose to invite her friend Marianne, telling that she would be a talented singer. Along the years of abusive treatment, they survive but losing their dignity. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Playing for Time  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barbra Streisand was originally offered the role of Fania Fenelon. Streisand resembles the real Fenelon much more than Vanessa Redgrave, who ultimately took the part. See more »

Goofs

Lagerfuhrerin Maria Mandel is wearing the famous 1930s-era black SS uniform. This is very common mistake in many WW2 films. The Black SS uniforms were discontinued at the start of the war in 1939 and replaced by the Green or Grey uniform. Only Waffen SS tank crews wore black uniforms in combat. This was not, however, the all black uniform worn by the pre-war SS, but rather a short, black waist-cut coat similar in style to that worn by tank crews in the Wehrmacht. She also is wearing the SS Runes patch on her uniform which was not worn in any Camps. SS guards,doctors,officers and personal wore a patch with the Deaths Head (Totenkopf) symbol. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 33rd Annual Emmy Awards (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best movies I've ever seen about the struggle for humanity.
6 September 1999 | by (Mesa, AZ) – See all my reviews

This is a wonderful, powerful and very moving picture. This is one of the best WWII films surrounding the victims of the Holocaust. The dialog and acting throughout is superb! I too am aware that the Jewish Defense League didn't want Vanessa Redgrave playing the main character for political reasons. There should be NO politics in acting, just the right actors for the right roles. Ms. Redgrave is definately the right person for the role. I don't know all about her personal politics and don't care when it comes to seeing a movie like this one. Her commitment to this role is absolutely mesmerizing. I even heard that in addition to shaving her head for the role, she used a safety pin to injure her lip instead of just letting the makeup people fake something. She bares her soul in a way that few actors can. Jane Alexander is also very worthy as the Director of the orchestra that Fania(Redgrave) is a part of. If you get a chance to see this on tv, don't miss it. I am fortunate to have taped it when it originally aired. Some video stores may also have a copy. Remembering the past is a way to make sure it is never repeated- if you see this movie, it will be one more vivid memory of why we should never forget.


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