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17 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

An astonishing masterpiece

Author: surreal_subtext from New York
11 November 2004

It is amazing to me that this film is pretty much unavailable in any format.

What a cast. Vanessa Redgrave. Jane Alexander. Marisa Berenson. Verna Bloom. Melanie Mayron. And a subtle and evocative script by none other than Arthur Miller.

A summary of it sounds unpleasant and harrowing and to a certain extent it is. But there is extraordinary beauty in this daring and unusual picture. A group of women, all musicians, are allowed by the Nazis to remain alive on the condition that they amuse their captors with music.

It simply must be seen, and will never be forgotten. See this picture any way you can. I am sure that in time it will be rediscovered and seen for the sublime utterance that it is.

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The best TV production ever.

9/10
Author: anonymous from chicago
3 April 1999

Firstly I have to say that this is not your usual stereotype Jewish holocaust movie: It goes much, much beyond any ideological rhetoric, to deal with Human condition.However, you have the Concentration Camp as a background for one of the best contemporary playwrights (arguably The best!) to create and develop his masterpiece .It is worthwhile to know that Arthur Miller persisted in his demand to put Venessa Redgrave in the the leading role, in spite of all the threats and protests of JDL.Here, she presents one of her most magnificent performances as an Artist trapped in the most dehumanizing conditions one could imagine.The dialogue is absolutely superb, and the actings are quite decent.A must see.

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

superb performance by Vanessa Redgrave

10/10
Author: sroimoi from New York
2 February 2000

Playing for Time deserved theatrical release, but as TV fare, perhaps among the finest, ranking up there with The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Being a Jew, I received a lot of flak for applauding Vanessa Redgrave's magnificent performance, but one needs to separate the art from the politics. While physically Ms. Redgrave does not at all resemble the real Fanelon, one can't help feeling that she captured the role. My only criticism is the newswreel type footage used to depict the moving trains. First rate movie

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

very moving human drama

Author: freebird-9 from Norway
15 March 2004



This moving human Drama is one of the most touching movies I have ever seen.

Vanessa Redgrave is superb and strong as Fania Fénelon, a jewish singer from

France ending up in Auschwitz, and makes the role of her life.

I would say it is as important and grand as 'Schindler's List' and 'The Pianist', about the horrors of the Holocaust.

So, why is this not available on video? I've been trying for years to get hold of a copy of this moving drama.. and nobody seems to know who's holding the

copyright... It's really a shame that this classic is not available on dvd!!

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One of the best movies I've ever seen about the struggle for humanity.

10/10
Author: rondine (susan.rondine@cox.net) from Mesa, AZ
6 September 1999

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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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps the best ever movie that has been unrecognized.

10/10
Author: dewey22 from Lahaina, Hawaii
27 August 1999

I was more impressed by Vanessa Redgrave's performance than any female performance , in any medium. As a musician prisoner in a Nazi death camp, she exceeded any of her other brilliant performances. Aside from Vanessa, the movie should not be missed and hopefully released again.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Not just another tv movie...

10/10
Author: perci13 from New York, New York
17 July 2002

This made for tv movie should have been made for the big screen.

It was a great story and had such moving performances. Linda Yellen should be making feature films. I'll always be looking out to see if it will be rerunning on tv.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

My comments once again stirred deep emotions for these people

10/10
Author: pipic8 from United States
28 June 2002

One of the most haunting,soul-wrenching dramas I have ever seen, made much more so because it actually happened! The cruelty & unfeeling actions portrayed by the German officers gave me the feeling that I wanted to scream! It was so gut-wrenching. It is a movie we all should see lest we forget the reign of terror inflicted by the horror's of war.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

One of the Most Touching and Realistic Films about Survival and Loss of Dignity in a Concentration Camp

10/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
10 August 2012

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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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

An Excellent Movie

10/10
Author: Lew Gordon from Long Beach, California
3 May 2002

It has been years since I have seen this on TV. Being Jewish and understanding the holocaust, I love this movie with Vanessa Redgrave. I just wish it came on TV more. The visuals were excellent, the plot very real, and it was an absolute delight to see how well it was portrayed.

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