IMDb > Taking Sides (2001)
Taking Sides
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Taking Sides (2001) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

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Up 61% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Ronald Harwood (play)
Ronald Harwood (screenplay)
Contact:
View company contact information for Taking Sides on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
7 March 2002 (Germany) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A tale based on the life of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the controversial conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
9 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A Good But Not Great Exploration of the Nature of Good in Times of Evil See more (38 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Harvey Keitel ... Major Steve Arnold

Stellan Skarsgård ... Dr. Wilhelm Furtwängler

Moritz Bleibtreu ... Lt. David Wills
Birgit Minichmayr ... Emmi Straube

Ulrich Tukur ... Helmut Alfred Rode, 2nd violinist
Oleg Tabakov ... Colonel Dymshitz
Hanns Zischler ... Rudolf Otto Werner, oboist

Armin Rohde ... Schlee, timpanist

R. Lee Ermey ... General Wallace
August Zirner ... Captain Ed Martin
Daniel White ... Sergeant Adams
Thomas Thieme ... Reichsminister

Jed Curtis ... Colonel Green

Garrick Hagon ... Major Richards
Robin Renucci ... Captain Vernay
Markus Heinicke ... Attendant
Aleksandar Tesla ... Projectionist

Jarreth J. Merz ... US Soldier
Holger Schober ... Steve's Driver

Frank Leboeuf ... French Aide
Philip Bowen ... US Aide

Thomas Morris ... British Sergant
Peter Döring ... British Officer
Rinat Shaham ... Jazz Singer
Werner Armeln ... Remer
Matthias Wilke ... Schmidt
Holger Jahn ... Aide 1
Werner Zwosta ... Aide 2
Thomas Rösicke ... Barkeeper 1
Marco Riccardi ... Barkeeper 2
Jourii Babalikachvili ... Russian Aide
Henry Schindler ... U.K. Aide

Chris Martin ... U.S. Soldier
Benno Wirth ... Stallholder
Ron Hermann ... Boy 1
Valentin Tornow ... Boy 2
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wilhelm Furtwängler ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Joseph Goebbels ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Heinrich Himmler ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Adolf Hitler ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
István Szabó ... Passanger on Train (uncredited)
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Directed by
István Szabó 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Ronald Harwood  play
Ronald Harwood  screenplay

Produced by
Adam Betteridge .... associate producer: Great British Films
Fritz Buttenstedt .... co-executive producer
Michael Cowan .... co-executive producer (as Michael Lionello Cowan)
Udo Happel .... line producer
Michael Hild .... co-producer (as Michael von Wolkenstein)
Jeremy Isaacs .... co-producer
Alex Marshall .... associate producer
Maureen McCabe .... co-producer
Rainer Mockert .... co-producer
Michel Nicolini .... supervising producer
Yves Pasquier .... producer
Jason Piette .... co-executive producer
David Rogers .... co-executive producer
Jacques Rousseau .... co-producer
Rainer Schaper .... co-producer
Gisela Waetzoldt-Hildebrandt .... associate producer
 
Cinematography by
Lajos Koltai 
 
Film Editing by
Sylvie Landra 
 
Casting by
Gillian Hawser 
Caroline Hutchings 
Heta Mantscheff 
 
Production Design by
Ken Adam 
 
Art Direction by
Anja Müller (supervising art director)
 
Set Decoration by
Bernhard Henrich 
 
Costume Design by
Györgyi Szakács 
 
Makeup Department
Wolfgang Böge .... makeup artist
Ann-Kathrin Guballa .... makeup artist
Beatrice Mendelin .... special makeup effects artist
Martina Raschke-Dressler .... makeup artist
Robert Rebele .... special makeup effects artist
 
Production Management
Marcus Loges .... unit manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Claudia Anton .... trainee assistant director
Thorne Mutert .... second assistant director
Aleksandrs Petukhovs .... third assistant director
Ralph Remstedt .... first assistant director
Oliver Schnug .... third assistant director
 
Art Department
Philipp A. Barnett .... set decoration assistant (as Philipp Barnett)
Stefan Pepe Baumgärtner .... assistant art director
Pierre Brayard .... assistant art director
André Brüggemann .... stand-by carpenter
Christian Ehlert .... lead set dresser
Axel Eichhorst .... storyboard artist
Sabine Engelberg .... art department coordinator
Eckart Friz .... assistant property master
Dierk Grahlow .... construction supervisor (as Dierck Rüdiger Grahlow)
Thomas Göldner .... set dresser
Axel Kahnt .... property master
Christoph Kettenring .... props
Oliver Korbel .... set dresser
Robert Krüger .... scenic artist
Matthias Kulewatz .... stand-by carpenter
Steffi Kulse .... assistant to construction supervisor
Detlef Michelchen .... stand-by carpenter
Blanka Pietsch .... property assistant
Scott Ritchie .... art department trainee
Christian Röscheisen .... stand-by prop
Christian Schaefer .... assistant set decorator
Udo Scharnowski .... draughtsman
Bea Schiefeling .... property buyer
Dorothea Schiefeling .... property buyer
Bernd Schirach .... stand-by carpenter
Bele Schneider .... property buyer
Gisela Schulze .... draughtsman
Torsten Schwartz .... supervisor plasterer
Constanze Siedenburg .... prop designer
Ralf Stottrop .... stand-by painter
Cindy Schnitter .... plasterer (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Philippe Amouroux .... sound re-recording mixer
Jean-Louis Bras .... adr boom operator
Michel Filippi .... adr editor (as Michel Fillipi)
Jean Goudier .... supervising sound editor
Jean-Francois Hammel .... foley artist assistant
Noemi Hampel .... cable woman
Cyril Holtz .... sound re-recording mixer
Denis Jaillet-Marsigny .... sound recordist
Anne Le Campion .... foley recordist
Jérôme Lévy .... foley artist
Olivier Marlangeon .... foley artist assistant
Gilles Missir .... adr sound engineer
Bridget O'Driscoll .... dialogue editor
John Pitt .... boom operator
Brian Simmons .... sound mixer
 
Special Effects by
Michael Apling .... special effects technician
Alain Carsoux .... head of special effects
Lars Hintze .... special effects technician
Thorsten Hintze .... special effects technician
Tommy Opatz .... special effects makeup: supply
Edouard Valton .... special effects producer
Bernd Wildau .... senior special effects technician
Adolf Wojtinek .... special effects supervisor
 
Visual Effects by
Christophe Belena .... digital transfers
Thorsten Binte .... visual effects supervisor
Coralie Boulay .... digital transfer editor
Séverine De Wever .... production coordinator
François Dupuy .... digital transfers
Vincent Frei .... rotoscope artist
Olivier Gadal .... rotoscope artist
Yann Gonsard .... rotoscope artist
Rip Hampton O'Neil .... technical director: Duboi
Michael Hosenfeld .... digital effects project manager
Abdel Ali Kassou .... digital transfers
Aurelie Lajoux .... rotoscope artist
Tina Lin .... digital transfers
Thomas Mulack .... digital effects producer
Nicolas Pelle .... digital transfers
Markus Schneider .... compositing artist
Antoine Simkine .... visual effects executive producer: Duboi
Guillaume Uguet .... digital transfers
 
Stunts
Helmut Baumer .... stunts
Oliver Fritsche .... stunt rigger
Christof Genesis .... stunts
Udo Harnach .... stunt performer
Werner Kaiser .... stunts
Armin Sauer .... stunt coordinator
Bernhard Schirmer .... stunts
Rene Schobes .... stunts (as Rene Schobess)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Christian Almesberger .... assistant camera
Daniel Alvermann .... dolly grip
Karl Dillitzer .... gaffer
Sandro Eichler .... grip
Marcell Erdélyi .... camera trainee
Mikesch Groht .... Steadicam operator
Heiko Jörke .... key grip
Daniel Klaucke .... electrician
Carsten Klockow .... grip
Patrick Kloz .... video assistant
Roland Knitter .... electrician
Finn Kohler .... grip
Oliver Ladinser .... electrician
Martin Lippert .... generator operator
Gero Neumann .... clapper loader
Nicole Nullmeyer .... clapper loader
Joseph Gallus Rittenberg .... still photographer
Alexander Schaak .... electrician
Axel Schrepel .... electrician
Rico Schulze .... electrician
Jörg Widmer .... Steadicam operator
Mike Wächter .... best boy
Kevin Foy .... grip (uncredited)
 
Animation Department
Siegfried Ostertag .... animator
 
Casting Department
Vanessa Baker .... adr voice casting
Karin Beewen .... casting: Babelsberg
Brendan Donnison .... adr voice casting
Martina Goldsmith .... extras casting assistant
Petra Lüttschwager .... extras casting assistant
Iris Müller .... extras casting
Tanja Ploetz .... extras casting assistant
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Anke Baier .... dresser
Pascale Bourtequoi .... assistant costume designer
Constanze Hagedorn .... wardrobe mistress
Sparka Lee Hall .... costume supervisor
Richard Olaf Zintel .... wardrobe master
Zintel Richard Olaf .... wardrobe master
Judith Stöger .... dresser
 
Editorial Department
Patrick Delamotte .... color timer
Juliette Garcias .... assistant editor
Soline Guyonneau .... first assistant editor
Isabelle Lepicier .... assistant editor (as Isabelle Lépicier)
 
Music Department
Daniel Barenboim .... conductor: new recordings
Wilhelm Furtwängler .... conductor: original recordings
Ulrich Trimborn .... music supervisor
 
Transportation Department
Katja Heissig .... driver
Axel Hübner .... driver: director
Inga Meissner .... transportation coordinator
Grit Menzzer .... driver
 
Other crew
Tobias Asam .... office production assistant
Roman Avianus .... assistant location manager
Melanie Aßmann .... set production assistant
Francesco Belfiore .... assistant: Mr. Keitel
Naomi Buck .... assistant: Mr. Pasquier
Catherine Charlton .... dialogue coach
Claudia Davids .... production accountant
Claire Deloire .... production secretary: France
Yassir Falhi .... stand-in
Klaus Große Darrelmann .... location manager
Boris Hars-Tschachotin .... location scout
Sven Herrmann .... set manager
Michael Hoffmann .... crowd marshall
Julia Jones .... unit publicist
Julia Kainz .... unit publicist
Frank Krug .... set production assistant
Emily Kyriakides .... assistant: Mr. Marshall
Winnie Marcus .... set production assistant
Catherine Michael .... production secretary
Tresi Murphy .... production assistant: France
Axel Möller .... stand-in
Alexander Nanau .... office production assistant
Karl Objartel .... office production assistant
Susann Pataki .... office production assistant
Laura Popescu-Zeletin .... location assistant
Gabriella Prekop .... script advisor
Daniel Pruß .... crowd marshall
Annie Quignon-Fleuret .... production accountant: France
Miriam Rönn .... unit publicist
Marco Schenke .... crowd marshall
Nadine Schindowski .... cashier
Zsuzsanna Szászi .... assistant: Mr. Szabó
Caroline Veyssière .... script supervisor
Anja Wedell .... production coordinator
Nicole Zscherny .... set production assistant
Denis O'Sullivan .... assistant: Harvey Keitel (uncredited)
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
108 min | Germany:142 min (TV version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Goofs:
Boom mic visible: In one of the library scenes the boom mic and the arm holding it are clearly visible.See more »
Movie Connections:
Edited into Taking Sides Again (2004) (V)See more »
Soundtrack:
2ND MOVEMENTSee more »

FAQ

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50 out of 53 people found the following review useful.
A Good But Not Great Exploration of the Nature of Good in Times of Evil, 19 September 2003

There are two constituencies for director Istvan Szabo's "Taking Sides," a story of famed conductor (and not so well known composer) Wilhelm Furtwangler's accountability for his actions in Germany and occupied Europe during World War II. One is a relatively small coterie of devoted classical music lovers, few of whom are old enough to have ever seen the maestro conduct but who know his penetratingly brilliant conducting through recordings. The larger audience is attracted to unending and largely unresolvable issues of good versus evil and the degree to which one is responsible for the atrocities committed by a society but not by the individual who serves some of its needs.

Wilhelm Furtwangler was a world-heralded conductor before World War II. Along with a handful of European podium titans - Mengelberg, Walter, Klemperer and Toscanini - these men in essence controlled classical music, both with regard to concert programming and the rapidly developing technological advances of the phonograph disc.

With the rise of fascism, some conductors, composers and musicians fled the grasp of tyrannous regimes. A few, like Toscanini, had little choice (a beating administered by Italian thugs as payment for his refusing to honor Mussolini from the stage was a fair indication that New York offered better prospects). Walter and Klemperer decamped, their careers boosted by their strong anti-Nazi stances. Mengelberg collaborated, essentially ruining his career when victory came (his is a complex case still debated).

Furtwangler, with many opportunities to leave, didn't. Indeed his conducting during the Third Reich was without doubt the hallmark of German classical music during those twelve indescribably dark years. Why didn't he leave? He knew that culture was being obliterated by the stroke of a pen or a dictator's speech. Mendelssohn, whose works he had often performed, was now a non-existent presence in German music. Beethoven and Bruckner, composers Furtwangler loved, were deified for political purposes. Did he believe his presence would preserve essential elements of the German music heritage until a better day?

"Taking Sides" addresses Furtwangler's role and focuses, with flashbacks, on an American major's investigation - shrill, unsophisticated, uncultured American Philistine at its best (worst?) - of Furtwangler's role. A former insurance investigator called to the colors, Harvey Keitel's major is effective as the kind of American officer that many of us have encountered overseas, usually with embarrassment. He is a tenacious bulldog gripping on to a prey he can never truly understand. And he doesn't want to anyway. His savage, histrionic pursuit of Furtwangler blurs the portrayal of the complex conductor.

Stellan Skarsgard is Furtwangler, alternately triumphant on the podium, disturbed by inner doubts and mortifyingly humiliated by the major's treatment which would have been appropriate for investigating a Gestapo officer or a concentration camp commandant. The rest of the cast acts well but their supportive and in some instances distractive roles add little.

A romance between an idealistic American lieutenant who proclaims he is a man of culture before he is a Jew and a winsome fraulein is unrealistic, is irrelevant, not even interesting. "Taking Sides" is a somewhat less sophisticated descendant of Spencer Tracy and Maximillian Schell's blazing encounter in "Judgment at Nuremberg" Schell, acting the part of a judge in Nazi Germany who slowly accepted the abnegation of the rule of law, was forced to confront his true contribution to evil. Spencer Tracy saw to that and, in any event, Harvey Keitel is no Tracy.

Furtwangler in the film is never suspected, much less accused of any crime other than being a championed symbol of German "kultur." That was not a war crime and in reality figures like Furtwangler and composer Richard Strauss (another difficult case) were processed through denazification proceedings fairly quickly and usually were cleared. Some were not (Mengelberg, for example).

The problem with "Taking Sides," beyond its simplistic polarization, is that it does not address, and perhaps could not, the complexity of the role of classical music and musicians in the ideology of Nazism. Furtwangler may not have known of extermination camps and he certainly hurt no Jews (indeed, the record is clear that he saved some Jewish musicians as did Mengelberg) but he must internally have abhorred the Nazi extinction of music by composers such as Mendelssohn and contemporary composers whose works were denounced as "entartete musik" (degenerate music). And more than a few of the composers in the latter class were murdered during the regime. Furtwangler definitely knew that composers and musicians disappeared with no forwarding addresses.

Keitel and Skarsgard act out a morality inquisition that does provoke the viewer to think and question but the ultimate issue, should Furtwangler have fled, is irritatingly vague. Did Furtwangler "take sides" in any meaningful sense? Did he stay beyond the point where leaving was an option? Maybe. Can we, should we, expect composers and conductors to be like Leonard Bernstein, outspoken advocates on every issue? Is that fair?

German conductors had powerful patrons and without doubt Furtwangler's brilliant conducting served the interests of both the leaders and audiences that hungered, through bombings and the approach of defeat, for some relief through music. I have a recording of Furtwangler conducting Beethoven's magisterial Ninth Symphony in Berlin where anti-aircraft fire and bombs can be heard. What did it take for Londoners and Berliners to listen to great music at their imminent mortal peril? "Taking Sides" could have explored the almost mystical relationship between Furtwangler and his audiences. It doesn't really do that although the adulation in which he was held is depicted.

A very fine biography by Shirakawa, "The Devil's Musician," largely rescues Furtwangler from accusations of sympathy with the Nazi regime and he clearly was a much finer fellow than his young rival, Herbert von Karajan. Von Karajan was destined to be a great conductor but he was also a first-class careerist who joined the Nazi party to advance his prospects (and lied about it for years until confronted with the evidence).

Anyone seriously interested in classical music during the Third Reich must read Douglas Kater's three-volume, well-written and extensively researched history of that period. For now, "Taking Sides" is good but not great drama. Selections of music by Bruckner and Beethoven as well as by Glenn Miller and George Gershwin (the latter two decidedly not Nazi favorites) are prominent. Hopefully the movie will impel those unfamiliar with an unsurpassed interpreter of wonderful music to seek out readily available and gripping recordings.

7/10.

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