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The Rubble Film, Wolfgang Staudte, and Postwar German Cinema: Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are among Us, Wolfgang Staudte, 1946)

  • Sebastian Heiduschke

Abstract

In 1946, German film director Wolfgang Staudte knocked on the doors of the commanders in charge of occupied Berlin to receive a license for a film entitled Der Mann den ich töten werde (The Man I Am Going to Kill). His idea was rejected in the three Western sectors; in the Soviet sector, however, he was granted the license to shoot what became the first German feature film made after World War II. When it premiered under the title Die Mörder sind unter uns (The Murderers Are among Us) on October 15, 1946, it represented the first feature film by the newly founded Deutsche Filmaktiengesellschaft (DEFA). Die Mörder became an instant success—and a timeless classic of German cinema, as its selection as sixth-most important film of German cinema attests to.1 The film continues to fascinate audiences, from the 1975 Berlin International Film Festival to moviegoers of the 2006 retrospective of DEFA cinema at the New York Museum of Modern Art. Many factors contributed to making this story set in postwar Berlin not only a milestone of DEFA but also of German cinema.

Keywords

Silent Film Instant Success Cultural Officer Nazi Concentration Camp Original Script 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Kinematheksverbund, ed. Die deutschen Filme. Deutsche Filmografie 1895–1998. Die Top 100, CD-Rom (Frankfurt am Main: Deutsches Filminstitut, 1999).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Peter Meyers, “Der DEFA-Film: Die Mördersindunteruns,” in Nationalsozialismus und Judenverfolgung in DDR-Medien (Berlin: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 1997), 74.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    See Christiane Mückenberger, “The Anti-Fascist Past in DEFA-Films,” in DEFA: East German Cinema, 1946–1992, ed. Seân Allan and John Sandford (Oxford: Berghahn, 1999), 60.Google Scholar
  4. 10.
    The Soviet colonel Sergei Tulpanov, head of the SMAD propaganda department, stated these and other goals at the official ceremony for DEFA in May. Quoted by Seán Allan in “DEFA: An Historical Overview,” in DEFA: East German Cinema, 1946–1992, ed. Seán Allan and John Sandford (Oxford: Berghahn, 1999), 3.Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Christiane Mückenberger, “Die ersten antifaschistischen DEFA-Filme der Nachkriegsjahre,” in Nationalsozialismus und Judenverfolgung in DDR-Medien, ed. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Bonn: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 1977), 16.Google Scholar
  6. 15.
    For more on the German rubble film, see Shandley, Rubble Films; as well as Wilfried Wilms and William Rasch, eds. German Postwar Films: Life and Love in Ruins (New York: Macmillan, 2008).Google Scholar

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© Sebastian Heiduschke 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Heiduschke

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