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Patrick McGrady (written by)
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Release Date:
21 June 2012 (Germany) See more »
Actor and writer Stephen Fry explores his passion for the world's most controversial composer - Richard Wagner... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Interesting introduction See more (3 total) »


  (in credits order)

Stephen Fry ... Himself - Presenter

Directed by
Patrick McGrady 
Writing credits
Patrick McGrady (written by)

Produced by
Adam Barker .... executive producer: BBC
Astrid Heidenreich .... associate producer
John Marshall .... executive producer: Screen East
Patrick McGrady .... producer
Lucy Ward .... executive producer
Film Editing by
Amanda Young (picture editor)
Production Management
Sergei Beck .... production manager: Russia
Art Department
Gary Mayes .... graphics
Malca Schotten .... graphics
Sound Department
Stephen Crawley .... sound
David Ingram .... dubbing
Andrey Nikolaev .... sound: Russia (as Andrei Nikolayev)
Tim Wheeler .... dubbing
Camera and Electrical Department
Sergey Dubrovsky .... camera operator: Russia (as Sergei Dubrovsky)
Jeremy Irving .... camera operator
Editorial Department
Paul Ingvarsson .... on-line editor
Other crew
Beth Beamer .... production assistant

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
89 min

Did You Know?

Himself - Presenter:Imagine a great, beautiful, intricate tapestry of infinite colour, that has been stained indelibly. It's still a beautiful tapestry, with miraculous workmanship and gorgeous colour and silken texture, but that stain is real, and, I'm afraid, Hitler and Nazism have stained Wagner. For some people, that stain ruins the whole work. For others, it is just something you have to face up to. But here, as storm clouds gather in Nuremberg... Here is a place to think about such thingsSee more »


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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Interesting introduction, 19 March 2011
Author: ihrtfilms from Australia

Beloved Brit Stephen Fry first fell in love with the music of Wagner when he was 14 and so began a lifetime's passion for the music. In the present Fry visits Bayreuth where every year, at the concert hall Wagner himself built, a festival of his works is held and where despite his love of all things Wagner, Fry has never visited.

Fry delves into the life of Wagner, the preparations for the festival and of course Wagner's music. In doing so however there one has to discuss how Wagner was hugely anti-Semitic and how his music was heralded by Hitler and the Nazi's to the point where for some Wagner is tainted beyond acceptance. Hitler's love for Wagner led him to attending the very music hall that Fry is to attend. Fry, with his Jewish background also takes us to Nuremberg, home of the infamous Nazi parades and gatherings that took on a Wagnerian like epic-ness.

Yet despite his difficultly with getting past this connection with composer of great music and the horrors of Nazi rule, Fry remembers the joy of the music itself and exploring the realms of Wagner leads him to describe himself as a kid in a sweetshop.

As a person with little knowledge of Wagner I wondered how I would fair with this, but Fry is a perfect host. Yet the film struggles in places; the life of Wagner doesn't seem to be fully explored and we don't really get to know much except basic facts about the man. Also the use of music throughout the film disappoints as there are only snippets of various pieces that we don't get to really appreciate; in one instance a recreation of Traume in the same room it was first performed is suddenly shattered by Fry's booming voice-over. It's seems a shame that a film about such a great musician spends such little time presenting his music, unlike films such as In Search Of Beethoven that at least gave us more of the man's music.

Of course this is not just about Wagner, nor is it about Wagner and the connection with Hitler and Antisemitism. It's about the joy Fry holds for the music. It is wonderful to see the joy he gets, entering the theatre for the first time or playing a note on Wagner's piano. But it's difficult to share the enthusiasm to his level, if you are unfamiliar with Wagner's works, even if you can still enjoy to a certain extent. The connection between the Nazis' and Wagner also presents an uneasy premise, one that Fry himself acknowledges and that being, do you put that connection aside and enjoy or do you forever connect the man with one of the darkest moments in human history? Enjoyable as it is, more time could have been spent exploring Wagner's life and presenting his music, yet as an extended version of a TV program, this works well enough as an interesting introduction to one of music's great figures.

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