Sunday, August 16, 2009

"Bombs Falling from the Skies Again..."

This disturbing little fever dream - Fred and Ginger seen through a funhouse mirror - is actually fairly innocuous - until you discover that it was filmed in 1944. In Berlin. Yes, it's "Ich Warte Auf Dich," the glam finale from Die Frau meiner Träume, the second-to-last film ever released in Nazi Germany's very own camp film technology, Agfacolor.

And the star? She's none other than the Brownshirts' Betty Grable, Marika Rökk. A Hungarian born in Cairo, she survived the war, as did her career, particularly in operetta. She's not bad, I suppose, but the whole thing can't escape seeming macabre. Ratchet it up one notch, and you've got pure Mel Brooks, really.

At least it appears she never met Leo Lerman.


  1. Who's Marikka's dancing partner?

    He looks like Eichmann,

  2. That would put it beyond Mel Brooks and well into Fassbinder territory.

    Actually, I haven't figured out who the man is; he's not, apparently one of the male leads, but takes over during the musical numbers. Of which, by the bye, it turns out this is just about the least over the top....

  3. I did some research-he's Valentin Fromann, member of a Russian dance family, later toured with Ballets Russes. He must have got stranded in Berlin at some point and needed work.

    Fun fact-his voice was dubbed.

  4. Ich Warte Auf Dich -> I control room on you?

    Pardon my German, its a little rusty.

    What amazes me about these snippets of detached reality is its glamour amongst the ruins. You just know that these have to have som inkling that what they have is doomed, yet they smile and sing.

  5. I first saw this clip in the documentary Hitler's Hit Parade, shown at NY's Film Forum a few years back.

    Marikka's a good dancer, but for the Zeitgeist you need a good Aryan goddess, Zarah Leander, the Norwegian songbird.

  6. Ah, Z.Lo is a regular in these parts, you know.

    Fascinating about Fromann. There were a number of interesting Russians stuck in Berlin, my favorite being Princess Marie Vassiltchikov - who's experiences by the summer of '44 belie any glamour UFA was able to pull together at that late date...

  7. I'll Wait For You - Ich Warte Auf Dich

  8. ch warte auf dich
    Du bist das Glück für mich
    Mein Hertz ruft nur nach dir, dir, dir allein

    Kein' Frau geht nach hin
    wo ich nicht bei dir bin
    Dein Bild ist stehts in mir, mir, mir allein

    Du weißt genau
    was meines Lebens Sehnsucht ist
    daß du die Frau
    in allen meinen Träumen bist

    Ich warte auf dich
    Das Leben ist schöner für mich
    allein durch dich, durch dich