Request Concert (1940) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
6 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Lighthearted musical entertainment for audiences in WW2 Germany
Lars-6511 April 2001
`Wunschkonzert' (Request Concert) – whose inspiration came from Goebbles – provides an idealised self-portrait of National Socialism's society of spectacle. It starts with Hitler's arrival at the 1936 Olympics and takes us on a tour of Berlin. Its subsequent points of interest include the battlefield of war, an affair of the heart, and above all a popular radio broadcast that binds private destinies to an imaginary collective fate. The film features many of Germany's movie- and show-stars. `Wunschkonzert' is filled with popular (German) songs of the 1930s and 40s and therefore, was a big success with the soldiers on the front.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I won't go so far as to say a "guilty pleasure," but...
I saw this film a few years ago at a UCLA showing of Nazi-era German films. It's a big, fluffy blend of music, comedy and romance with several story lines, and is very well-crafted and entertaining. You forget you're watching a Nazi film until someone gives the occasional Hitler-salute, or someone speaks of "chopping up Englishmen," and then you're unpleasantly--if temporarily--jarred back into an awareness of the historical and political context of the film. Thus, it is a valuable springboard for reflections on the nature of mass entertainment, escapism and propaganda, both in Nazi Germany and one's own country, and also suggests (as has been focused upon in recent historical scholarship) that for the average German, life in the early years of the Third Reich wasn't all that "unusual" or ideological by modern standards. The elderly German man sitting in front of me in the theater was quite excited by the many cameo appearances of mid-20th century German entertainers--much as my parents would be delighted to uncover an old gem featuring Bogart, Hayworth, Abbott & Costello, etc. So, it's all very interesting.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The wish not filled.
mart-4531 August 2005
There are much, much better and more interesting films from the period of WW II. This one actually isn't one of them: Ilse Werner, a wonderful and fresh actress who appeared on many great Helmut Käutner films (and a musical star as well) is quite wasted and doesn't get to sing a note. Why she chooses the immensely ugly (though sometimes very talented) Carl Raddatz over the wonderful boyish Joachim Brennecke, is a total mystery. I grew very tired of the storyline very soon, and started waiting for the many songs, which I knew would be in the film. In fact these songs - or excerpts rather - are all crammed into the final ten or fifteen minutes. That's sad. So, once again: if you want to see a good Nazi musical, there are films like "Frau Meiner Träume", "Fledermaus", "Wir Machen Musik" and dozens of others. If you want a love story, there's "Under the bridges", "Grosse Freiheit nr 7" or "Romanze in Moll". If you just want to see Nazi uniforms and stock footage - well, there always are documentaries, such as the amazing series "Third Reich in colour".
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A beautifully simple love story
gudrunh-794-6903721 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This wonderful piece of light entertainment has just been re-released with English subtitles and it makes the perfect companion piece to the Wunschkonzert CDs already available from various sources.

The movie revolves around a simple theme: the handsome young air force officer Herbert (Carl Raddatz) meets the beautiful young woman Inge (Ilse Werner) at the opening of the Berlin Olympics, but on the eve of their marriage he is sent incognito to Spain as part of the Condor Legion. No time for adequate farewells.

And the years slip by without any news. Has he forsaken her? Then by chance, while listening (with countless other millions) to Sunday's request concert, she hears his name…Major Koch. His adoring men have put in a request on his behalf to hear the Olympic Fanfare over the radio waves. Of course! He's alive and he hasn't forgotten! And just as the Olympic torch ignited the flame in Berlin, so this request ignites again the feeling of hope in our young Inge. There must have been a reason for his silence. The road to reunion is not an easy one however and both circumstance and misunderstandings conspire to keep them apart until the very (happy) end.

Interwoven with this light melodrama is some rousingly patriotic newsreel footage of both the Olympic opening ceremony, and the Condor Legion in action, but there is also a second important theme: the significance of the actual Wunschkonzert performances themselves as necessary morale boosters for both the serving troops and their families at home. Goebbels understood this perfectly and apparently provided the inspiration for director Eduard von Borsody.

There are moments of comedy as we follow the escapades of two enlisted men (who were also a noted comedy due of the period) bringing a captured pig to Berlin, and great pathos as a mother sitting alone at home listens to the powerfully moving voice of Wilhelm Streinz singing "Gute Nacht Mutter". Her young son had recently saved his unit, but in the process had sacrificed his own life.

For me, it was worth the price of admission simply to see not only the stunningly beautiful Ilse Werner, but also the actual musicians and performers who had hitherto been merely voices.

The movie and associated music CDs are highly recommended.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Heartbreak NSDAP
bdl1629 May 2003
I enjoy totalitarian entertainment as much as the next man, which maybe is why I was so let down by this movie, recently shown at the 16th International Film Historical Congress in Berlin. I expected singing, dancing, and good cheer. But it was straight propaganda instead. Ilse Werner meets craggy, Aryan Carl Raddatz, when he gives her tickets to see the opening of the '36 Olympics, in particular Hitler and the crowd of 500,000 Hitler-saluting. They fall in love that weekend, but then Carl is ordered to go to Spain on a secret mission for the Luftwaffe. After, we presume, bombing Spanish peasants, he comes back three years later and wants to find Ilse, but the new war gets him distracted flying missions locating British shipping for U-Boots to sink. This means a lot of really loud heel-clicking and outlandishly fascistic uniforms (Carl has the usual eagle-and-swastika badge, then a gold Nazi eagle pin on his breast pocket, and a little ceremonial sword hung from his hip). Nearly all of the comic relief is military (e.g. a fat butcher in the Wehrmacht who steals French pigs; Luftwaffe mechanics with thick Berlin accents). And every third shot is framed to include a) a Nazi eagle and/or swastika, b) a framed photo of Hitler, or c) a poster shouting, "Watch out for spies! Be careful in conversations!"

Despite the hurried appearance of big-name stars, there's almost no music in this picture, and a lot of that isn't hit songs, but Nazi children's choirs in regional dress, blond and muscular U-Boot sailors singing mournfully to an accordion, and rousing march music played alongside documentary footage of aerial bombardment. Nor is there ever any tension that Ilse won't marry Carl; the surprise is that her old beau/would-be beau (this is unclear), who ends up as Carl's bomber navigator, abandons his passion immediately on learning that she's his commanding officer's squeeze and gives her away with immense enthusiasm.

Some Nazi entertainment is a blast ("Gasparone," for example.) This film isn't; there's not much there for humor, romance, or music, and the pacing is leaden. But the film is a powerful experience. With its unintended ironies, "Wunschkonzert" is more painful and shocking than any Hollywood weepie about the Second World War. "The young people today," Ilse's aunt says knowingly, "act as though we hadn't made the same mistakes 30 years ago!" That was in 1940, supposedly referring to flirtation and love. Then the troops are marching off to war, and Auntie, Ilse, and her suitor drink: "To the beautiful future!"
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Wasn't bad as I thought
cynthiahost22 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
At first I didn't like the movie cause of it being a Nazi swastika drama.But after buying it and seeing it, it wasn't that bad. I heard so many complaints about the numbers being short and Ilse Werner not singing. Now I understand. The radio show was a super propaganda radio program. Ilse , Johanne and Zara plus Rudy Shruki and band like Kurt Widman and his Orchestra and Fud Cantics ex cetera never appeared in the radio show cause the singers and the bands were of the pop jazz and swing categories. The Club Foot had that regulated that for touring occupied areas for the soldiers to short wave radios for the soldiers also night clubs and hotels,in Berlin and Hamburg, and record sales only. This is why Ilse wasn't allowed to sing in this picture. This would be made up by medium budget musical ,Were making music, 1942, in which she would demonstrate her whistling.But this is an excellent example propaganda.Inge and her aunt Eichhorn,played by Ida Wust, goes to the 1936 Olympics. The aunt forgets her tickets so Inge has to wait till her aunt comes back with the tickets. She meets Carle Radditz, who plays Herbert, who has an extra ticket. She goes with him and it's love at first sight. they plan to marry but the Spanish war get in the way so he has to go on an assignment against the right side.Carl Raddatz as so many people complained about him was really handsome and not plain. When he did Opfergang and they put a mustache on him plus his own suntan that made him plain looking.You see the Nazi soldiers acting normal,like a scene in which a ex butcher and his troops are in France and they steal pigs from a farm and they are about to make lunch until their leader suggest to save the pigs. This reflect Adolphs animal rights extremism. The character was a butcher now soldier . This was a subtle put down against meat eating.Late on in world war 11, Herbert is flying in a German airplane. We shoot one of the pilots so Herbert takes over. We shoot his plane. They crash. Unfortunately for us they survive.Another seen the Nazis soldiers go in a bomb Catholic church ,now it's putting the catholics down, and Hubert's best friend Helmet,played by Joachim Brennecke starts to play the organ, Beethtoven, .More bombs come in from us. The church is bomb more the soldier continues to stay and play the organ he's being told to leave. We end up injuring him. Propaganda message? The catholic church organ cause him to become addicted to it.It injured him. See? By this time Inge is with her either mother or grandma, played Hedwig Bleibteu, the same German Grandame actress who played Maria Holst's Aunt in Weiner Blut.Well ,later it comes to the short view of the radio show. This was not intended to be a musical revue, such as Kora Terry released that same year were as well As Rosen in Tirol, The music as well as their side of the war was so supposed to be only the back drop. It was mainly a war romantic movie.It's easy to take a pot shot at those soldier in the movie but in real life many of those soldiers were being forced to fight the Nazi cause, cause of the job and the monthly pay that they would receive. After the war many of them who survive would regret it. This is a good swastika classic. The only problem is that today you have Neo Nazi and Nazi skin heads, who watched the same movies to reflect their Hitler worship and their. They have disturbing websites who exploit these film classics to raise money for their insanity . Be careful most of the time it's the direct hate only classics. If their scenario looks like they are glorifying it ,then its a Nazi website skip it .Go to IHF or German wartime films dot com, Amazon dot Dee or German video dot net. They are legitimate. 01/23/10 Mada a mistake it wasn't Herbert's friend that got killed at the church . It was Malte Yager's character's friend Schartzscop. at, international historical films
2 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed