7.4/10
2,436
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
3,709 ( 201)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Fania Fenelon wanted Liza Minnelli to play her. Fenelon is quoted as saying "I wanted Liza Minnelli. She's small, she's full of life, she sings and dances." Julie Andrews was also briefly considered for the role of Fenelon. See more »

Goofs

Dr. Josef Mengele is seen seen wearing the famous 1930s-era black SS uniform with the Red swastika arm band. 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 Grey uniforms seen on the other officers throughout the film. 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.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 33rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

J'Attendrai
(Tornerai)
Music by Dino Olivieri
Italian lyrics by Nino Rastelli
French lyrics by Louis Poterat
Performed by Vanessa Redgrave
See more »

User Reviews

Multiple perspectives
14 June 2018 | by pluisaSee all my reviews

The script pointedly shows many different perspectives of the victims of the German Nazi's holocaust: Communists, Zionists, homosexuals, artists, Germans, Poles, others - and how they perceive what is happening to them. Also the horror for these individuals to survive day after day while others are killed around them. And the struggle to retain a sense of being human. Wonderfully written. Hard to watch for sure. A must-see.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 35 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed