Film The Congress Dances (Der Kongress tanzt)

The Congress Dances (Der Kongress tanzt) (c) Erik Charell The Congress Dances (Der Kongress tanzt) (c) Erik Charell

Thu, 03/15/2018

Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K Street NW, Suite 03
(Entrance on 20th Street NW, lower level)
Washington, DC 20006

Early UFA Film Posters: Projecting Women

Germany, 1931, 85 min., Director: Erik Charell, Cast: Lilian Harvey, Margarete Kupfer, Willy Fritsch

The city of Vienna. The year is 1815. After the defeat of Napoleon, the statesmen and rulers of Europe have gathered together at a congress to decide on a new political order for the European continent. Against the backdrop of this historic conference, director Erik Charell tells a love story, situated somewhere between operetta and musical. While Tsar Alexander devotes himself to an amorous adventure with a glove-maker, his doppelganger must attend to the business of running the country; politics becomes a farce. In the leading roles are Willy Fritsch and Lilian Harvey, the dream couple of German cinema in the 30s.

Erik Charell (1894-1974, Breslau) built his early fame as a dancer, founding his own international touring dance company, the Charell-Ballett, in the early 1920s. In 1924, he took charge of the Großen Schauspielhaus in Berlin. Here, he directed a variety of theater, dance and opera performances casting many actors that would go on to become major stars, such as Marlene Dietrich and Trude Hesterberg. As a result of his stage success, he was invited to direct his debut film, The Congress Dances, which became one of the first major international successes in the sound era and remains Charell’s most famous film. With the rise of National Socialism in Europe, Charell left for the US in 1936, but did not find much success as a director in Hollywood. After the war, he returned to Germany, creating the popular films The White Horse Inn (1952) and Fireworks (1954).

This event is held in conjunction with the exhibition Early UFA Film Posters: Projecting Women.