7.7/10
1,464
27 user 10 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
3,437 ( 361)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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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 Lenore Harris ... Charlotte
Mady Kaplan ... Varya
Will Lee ... Shmuel
Anna Levine ... Michou
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:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Compás de espera 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Barbra Streisand was originally offered the role of Fania Fenelon. Streisand resembles the real Fenelon much more than Vanessa Redgrave, who ultimately took the part. See more »

Goofs

Lagerfuhrerin Maria Mandel is wearing the famous 1930s-era black SS uniform. This is very common mistake in many WW2 films. The Black SS uniforms were discontinued at the start of the war in 1939 and replaced by the Green or Grey uniform. Only Waffen SS tank crews wore black uniforms in combat. This was not, however, the all black uniform worn by the pre-war SS, but rather a short, black waist-cut coat similar in style to that worn by tank crews in the Wehrmacht. She also is wearing the SS Runes patch on her uniform which was not worn in any Camps. SS guards,doctors,officers and personal wore a patch with the Deaths Head (Totenkopf) symbol. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Northern Exposure: Nothing's Perfect (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Cello Practice
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged by Brad Fiedel
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User Reviews

 
superb performance by Vanessa Redgrave
2 February 2000 | by sroimoiSee all my reviews

Playing for Time deserved theatrical release, but as TV fare, perhaps among the finest, ranking up there with The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Being a Jew, I received a lot of flak for applauding Vanessa Redgrave's magnificent performance, but one needs to separate the art from the politics. While physically Ms. Redgrave does not at all resemble the real Fanelon, one can't help feeling that she captured the role. My only criticism is the newswreel type footage used to depict the moving trains. First rate movie


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