München 1945 & Zwischen gestern und morgen

München 1945 & Zwischen gestern und morgen

Edition Filmmuseum 45

The 2-disc DVD presents newly restored footage which was shot in Munich just a few weeks after it was taken by the American troops on April 30, 1945. We see the enormous damage of the bombings which destroyed about 90% of the center of the city. Harald Braun's Zwischen gestern und morgen was the first post-war film shot in Munich. Love, betrayal and tragedy occur one night in a luxury hotel. Years later the protagonists are united again and face a decade of regrets, hate and unanswered questions caused by the war. Their lives are in ruins, just like the bombed hotel. The film features many former UFA stars, as well as Hildegard Knef who became the first new star of the German post-war cinema.

Temporarily not available

The Films

München 1945 - Germany 1945 - Directed, written and produced by: Willi Cronauer - Photographed by: Bartl Seyr, Kurt Grigoleit - Premiere of the restored version: July 22, 2010 (Filmmuseum München)

Zwischen gestern und morgen - Germany 1947 - Directed by: Harald Braun - Written by: Harald Braun, Herbert Witt, Jacob Geis - Cinematography by: Günther Anders - Music by: Werner Eisbrenner - Cast: Willy Birgel, Winnie Markus, Hildegard Knef, Sibylle Schmitz, Viktor de Kowa, Viktor Staal, Carsta Löck, Erich Ponto - Produced by: Neue Deutsche Filmgesellschaft, München - Premiere: December 11, 1947 (Luitpold-Theater München)

About the Films

On the 30th of April, 1945, American troops marched into Munich. One week later, on the 8th of May, came the unconditional surrender of the German Reich under Admiral Dönitz. Munich was one of the cities that had suffered the greatest devastation. 90% of the inner city lay in ruins, it had lost 22,346 soldiers in battle, 6,632 people to bombings, and the injured and homeless came to, respectively, 15,000 and 30,000. Though most movie houses had been either destroyed or damaged, screenings had still taken place in 15 Munich cinemas at the end of April. Likewise intact was the premises of Bavaria-Film at Geiselgasteig, where work had still proceeded into spring 1945 on productions such as Erich Engel's Emil Jannings comedy WO IST HER BELLING?, the Theo Lingen films PHILINE and LIEBESHEIRAT and Robert A. Stemmle's GELD INS HAUS, with Hans Moser all films that had not been completed by the end of the war.

On the 10th of May the Bavaria-Film studios (Geiselgasteig) were put under the control of the 6870th District Information Services Control Command of the Information Control Division (ICD). Although Information Control regulation No. 1, that came into force on the 12th of May, allowed for exceptions to the ban on German film activity, subject to registration and licensing, at first no German productions were permitted. The only exception seems to have been Willi Cronauer, who in June 1945 was already able to shoot footage in the ruined city for his privately financed documentary film project MÜNCHEN 1945. Filming begins on the 3rd of June, 1945, when, for the first time in years, a Corpus Christi procession goes through Munich. Cronauer never finishes editing his material, only occasionally showing a rough cut, "without music or words or stars," as the Süddeutsche Zeitung put it. Bavaria-Film in Geiselgasteig is forbidden production activity. Trustees are put in charge and only technical services may be offered. On the 25th of July, a few Munich cinemas that have not been destroyed are reopened though only for the entertainment of U.S. soldiers. Not until the 1st of August does a cinema for civilians open in Munich. Subtitled American films, all emanating from the Allgemeinen Filmverleih (AFI), set up on the Bavaria grounds and subservient to the ICD, monopolise the schedules. The WELT IM FILM newsreel, produced since May in London, precedes the features. When production of the newsreel is transferred from London to Geiselgasteig in August, 1945, there is a significant increase in items about Munich and its surroundings.

While the founding of German production companies had already been licensed in the other occupation zones, not much was happening in the American one. On the 14th of July Erich Pommer arrives for three weeks as American ICD Film Production Control Officer and visits Bavaria-Film at Geiselgasteig. In an August, 1945, press conference he explains that the German cinema's future, and overseas interest in post-war German film activity, lies in "contemporary material, grown out of the experience of Germany in ruins." Pommer exerts pressure to have the former Reich film assets utilised to build up the studios at Tempelhof and Geiselgasteig as functioning film production centres. He also implements the granting of production licenses in the American zone, from the 20th of November, 1946: the first to receive them in Munich are Fritz Stapenhorst (Carlton-Film GmbH), Fritz Thiery (Bavaria-Filmkunst Treuhandschaft and Helios Film GmbH) and Harald Braun and Jacob Geis (Neue deutsche Filmgesellschaft).

Braun and Geis had both already been active in film production during the Third Reich, but without participating in any incriminating propaganda films. In April, 1947, in the ruins of the Regina-Palast Hotel and at the Munich-Geiselgasteig studios, shooting begins on the first feature film in the American zone, ZWISCHEN GESTERN UND MORGEN, for which a whole corps of old UFA stars is obtained. Also on hand is Hildegard Knef, who had played supporting roles for UFA in the last months of the war and had already appeared in the first German post-war feature in the Soviet occupation zone, DIE MÖRDER SIND UNTER UNS (1946). The WELT IM FILM newsreel features the filming in an item entitled "Shooting begins in Geiselgasteig" in its edition no. 102 (9th of May, 1946). In the Münchner Merkur, Hans Helmut Kirst reports on the festive premiere of the 11th of April, 1947: "Yesterday evening the first German film of the U.S. Zone had its premiere in the Luitpold-Theater. The Governor of Bavaria, Mr. Wagoner, and representatives of the military government, the ministries and the Munich Municipality were present. Speeches were made by Mr. Rogers, Chief of the Film, Theater and Music Branch, Secretary Sattler and Lord Mayor Dr. Scharnagel. After the well-received film Winnie Markus, Willy Birgel, Viktor Staal, Adolf Gondrell and Walter Kiaulehn appeared before the audience."

According to the distributor Schorcht-Filmverleih, 2,815,265 spectators saw it one of the most successful post-war German films. "The story of a dispersed group of people, whose paths cross in Munich's bombed-out Regina-Palast hotel, impressively conveying the spiritual condition of the atomised post-war German society: Every man for himself and all involved in questions of guilt, repression and collective responsibility. Each is concerned solely with his survival, with his very recent past and the role he played in it. And all en route to an unknown destination. On the one hand, the old conventions, masquerades, on the other hand the children of the new era, with their casual behaviour." (Friedemann Beyer)

Stefan Drössler

DVD Features (2-disc DVD)

DVD 1

  • München 1945 1945, 76'
  • Fronleichnam 3. Juni 1945 München 1945, 9'
  • Photos from the shooting
  • 20-page booklet with texts by Elisabeth Angermair, Stefan Drössler and Peter Nau

DVD 2

  • Zwischen gestern und morgen 1947, 103'
  • Welt im Film: Filmstart in Geiselgasteig 1947, 3'
  • Photos from the shooting
  • Original lobby cards

Edited by: Filmmuseum München und Stadtarchiv München
DVD authoring: Ralph Schermbach
DVD supervision: Stefan Drößler

First Edition July 2010, Third edition January 2011, Forth edition March 2011

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