7.9/10
954
21 user 8 critic

Playing for Time (1980)

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Fania Fenelon
...
Alma Rose
...
Mala
...
Olga
...
Etalina
...
Elzvieta
...
Paulette
Donna Haley ...
Katrina
...
Charlotte
Mady Kaplan ...
Varya
Will Lee ...
...
Michou
...
Frau Schmidt
...
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

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 September 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Compás de espera  »

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

Dr. Josef Mengele is seen seen wearing the famous 1930s-era black SS uniform with the Red swastika arm band. 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 Grey uniforms seen on the other officers throughout the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paradise Road (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Yossel, Yossel
(uncredited)
Written by Nellie Casman and Samuel Steinberg
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the Most Touching and Realistic Films about Survival and Loss of Dignity in a Concentration Camp
10 August 2012 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In World War II, the Jewish French musician and cabaret singer Fania Fenelon Goldstein (Vanessa Redgrave) 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 (Jane Alexander) to invite her friend Marianne (Melanie Mayron), telling that she would be a talented singer. Along the years of abusive treatment, they survive but losing their dignity.

"Playing for Time" is one of the most touching and realistic films about survival and loss of dignity in a concentration camp. I have a great admiration for the awarded Mrs. Vanessa Redgrave and I believe that "Playing for Time" is her best role and performance in her admirable career. I had seen this television film many years ago on VHS and yesterday I saw it in a Brazilian DVD that unfortunately does not have an image of good quality but anyway it is worthwhile watching this to see and never forget how cruel human being may be. My vote is ten

Title (Brazil): "Amarga Sinfonia de Auschwitz" ("Bitter Symphony of Auschwitz")


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