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The True Story of Lilli Marlene (1944)

How Lili Marlene became the signature tune for the British army in North Africa.




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Credited cast:
Marius Goring ...
Himself, On-Screen Narrator
Pat Hughes ...
Lale Anderson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Werner Aluensleba
Jacques Aubert ...
Singer (French Canadian version)
Red Hughes ...
Vocals (Lili Marlene)
Denis Johnston
Jim Kinley ...
Charles Kormos
Brunon Kryger ...
The McLelland Sisters ...
Singers (Lili Marlene)
The Radio Rascals ...


The Eighth Army famously adopted a German song in the Western Desert. The Crown Film Unit traces the journey of Lili Marlene from its composition in post-WW1 Hamburg, via Radio Belgrade and the Afrika Korps, through victory in Tunisia and Sicily, to an imagined post-war East End, full of light, music and bananas for sale.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Documentary | Short | War





Release Date:

1 April 1945 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Lucie Mannheim was married to Marius Goring from 1941 until her death in 1976. See more »


Marius Goring - On-Screen Narrator: When the fighting men come home, they bring with them trophies and souvenirs of the war, the Second World War. But There's one trophy that you will only find in the homes of the Eighth Army - the disc of a German song: Lili Marlene.
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Crazy Credits

In this reconstruction of the story of LILI MARLENE we have had the collaboration of a great number of people, particularly Eighth Army men, London dockworkers, radio experts and refugees from Fascism. Some have brought us information, others re-enacted scenes from the past, others again appear in the picture as themselves. See more »


Lilli Marleen
Music by Norbert Schultze
Words by Hans Leip
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User Reviews

What was the propaganda purpose ?
22 October 2007 | by (london) – See all my reviews

This was one of the last films made by Humphrey Jennings for the Crown Film Unit before his untimely death.It is a rather curious film.One has to bear in mind that all films made under the aegis of the Crown Film Unit during World War 2 had a propaganda message.However this is far from easy to discern from this film.The only conclusion that i have come to is that it is to try and to explain why a song popularised by the Afika Corps should also have been adopted by the Eigth Army.In doing this it provides a set of lyrics which do not bear much comparison to the original.Its running time is an odd 29minutes so i would guess that it would have been difficult to fit into a standard cinema programme where the size of most shorts was 2 reels.In USA it was cut down to 21 minutes.All told one of the least satisfying films from Humphrey Jennings.

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