7.4/10
2,332
35 user 11 critic

Playing for Time (1980)

Female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp (Auschwitz) are spared from death in return for performing music for their captors.

Directors:

Daniel Mann, Joseph Sargent (uncredited)

Writers:

Arthur Miller, Fania Fénelon (autobiography: "The Musicians of Auschwitz")
Reviews
Popularity
3,989
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Fania Fenelon
Jane Alexander ... Alma Rose
Maud Adams ... Mala
Christine Baranski ... Olga
Robin Bartlett ... Etalina
Marisa Berenson ... Elzvieta
Verna Bloom ... Paulette
Donna Haley Donna Haley ... Katrina
Lenore Harris ... Charlotte
Mady Kaplan ... Varya
Will Lee ... Shmuel
Anna Thomson ... Michou (as Anna Levine)
Viveca Lindfors ... Frau Schmidt
Melanie Mayron ... Marianne
Marcell Rosenblatt Marcell Rosenblatt ... Giselle
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Storyline

In World War II, the Jewish French musician and cabaret singer Fania Fenelon Goldstein is sent by the Nazis from Paris to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The guards take her clothing and luggage and they cut her hair very short. One day, when she is very weak, she hears someone asking whether any prisoner could sing Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly and she joins the group of musicians that have been spared from the gas chambers to entertain the Nazis performing music for them. She convinces the conductor Alma Rose to invite her friend Marianne, telling that she would be a talented singer. Along the years of abusive treatment, they survive but losing their dignity. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite controversy and attempted boycotts, the 3 hour film was the highest viewed program of the week, with 20.4 million American homes watching its debut. See more »

Goofs

When the group of women are getting off the train at Auschwitz, Several Camp officers, are wearing Wehrmacht Officers hats which are clearly visible by the Crests they have on them. The SS hats have the Deaths Head (Totenkopf) symbol. No Wehrmacht Officer has ever been to known to work in any labor or death camp. Most of the regular Wehrmacht (Army) claimed to have had no knowledge about the Death Camps. See more »

Quotes

Alma Rose: We must constantly raise the level of our playing, or I really don't know how long they will tolerate us.
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Connections

Referenced in Paradise Road (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 5
(uncredited)
Music by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

 
Redgrave is a wonder to behold
9 December 2017 | by bettycjungSee all my reviews

12/7/17. An excellent look at the Holocaust through the lives and eyes of the Jewish women who were spared because they were willing to entertain the Nazis with their musical talent as part of the Women's Orchestra in Auschwitz. From great pain comes great music, but, oh, under such horrible circumstances! While this movie was based on a play by Arthur Miller, which based his work on the memoirs of the surviving members of this group, the women portrayed by Vanessa Redgrave was not happy with Redgrave's casting (although she went on to win awards for the portrayal) and wanted Liza Minnelli to play her. The acting was superb. Definitely worth watching, especially if you love music.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

30 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Playing for Time See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Szygzy Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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