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Fünf von der Jazzband (1932)

A dizzy young lady with no musical talent suddenly finds herself the star attraction of a jazz band.

Director:

Erich Engel

Writers:

Curt Alexander, Felix Jackson (play) (as Felix Joachimson) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jenny Jugo ... Jessie
Rolf von Goth ... Jim
Fritz Klippel Fritz Klippel ... Moritz
Karel Stepanek ... Jean
Günther Vogdt Günther Vogdt ... Bill
Theo Shall ... Martin
Werner Pledath Werner Pledath ... Director
Arthur Mainzer Arthur Mainzer ... Sasse
Gerhard Bienert
Heinrich Gretler Heinrich Gretler ... Judge
E. Helmke-Dassel E. Helmke-Dassel ... Erika
Peter Ihle Peter Ihle ... Bühnenmaler
Fritz Melchior Fritz Melchior ... Stage Manager
Vera Spohr Vera Spohr ... Chambermaid (as Frida Vera Spohr)
Károly Huszár ... Ansager beim Ringkampf (as Charles Puffy)
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Storyline

A dizzy young lady with no musical talent suddenly finds herself the star attraction of a jazz band.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

9 September 1932 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Five of the Jazzband See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

 
Show business? She just fell right into it
11 July 2014 | by wmorrow59See all my reviews

When we think of German cinema of the 1930s, I think it's fair to say that for most of us light comedy is not the first thing that comes to mind. But director Erich Engel made quite a few such films during the period, often featuring a perky brunette named Jenny Jugo. For those of us more familiar with Hollywood comediennes she comes off rather like Bebe Daniels, with a touch of Gracie Allen and a dash or two of Lucille Ball in her TV heyday. She gives a very winning performance in Funf von der Jazzband, a cute comedy that offers some clever gags and one terrific musical number.

The story concerns a struggling quartet, the Jazz Band Four, who are desperate to get hired to play at a prestigious music hall. Early on, when they audition for the theater's hard-to-please director, their performance is exhilarating—for me, a definite highlight of the film. Not only is their theme song a catchy, lively tune, but the musicians spice up the number with sight gags and funny props: a balloon that inflates from a saxophone, a lady's hat that appears from nowhere, a pistol fired unexpectedly, etc. And there's also an incredibly risqué gag involving a horn held like a portion of the male anatomy that must be seen to be believed. I don't think any studio in Hollywood could have gotten away with that bit, even in the Pre-Code era.

In any case, this is when our leading lady Jessie enters the act, though quite unwillingly. She's a stranger to the musicians, a somewhat dizzy young lady who has coincidentally gone backstage to see the manager, and then has to climb a ladder to find him. At the climax of the jazz number her ladder topples onto the stage, depositing her in the drum kit. The music hall director, who (oddly) wasn't very impressed with the band up until this moment, loves this big finish and hires them on the spot, but with the understanding that Jessie will perform her fall regularly as part of the act. Jessie, who has no musical talent, and no desire to be part of what is now the Jazz Band Five, must be persuaded to stick around, go along with the misunderstanding, and risk all for the sake of a paycheck.

That's the gist of the plot, and, like so many show business stories, it all builds up to a high pressure occasion: opening night. Happily, there are some amusing gags along the way. For instance, every time Jessie gets angry and slams a door, the same painting falls from the wall. (Eventually, one of the guys tries to catch it.) In a more elaborate sequence, our leading lady, who has had too much to drink, staggers across a busy street and narrowly misses getting hit by passing cars. (Comedy fans will be reminded of a similar routine from It's a Gift with W.C. Fields, made two years later.) In the last portion of the film there's even a surprise appearance by young Peter Lorre, as a sleazy car thief. His role is brief, but it's a treat to see him at this very early point in his acting career.

Funf von der Jazzband is a rarity, but worth chasing down if you can find it. Jenny Jugo is a nice discovery for buffs interested in films of the '30s, and having enjoyed her work in this zippy vehicle I'd like to see more. This is someone who deserves to be better known.


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