Skip to main content

THREEPENNY OPERA

Germany, 1931 (MIFF 1956, Programme 29)

Director: G. W. Pabst

A genial adaptation lull of criticism and social satire, of the famous Brecht &ndash: Weill opera which was based on John Gay's "The Beggar's Opera," and the works of Francois Villon.

The plot, which is laid in an imaginary London of the end of the nineteenth century, features three rogues: Mackie Messer, leader of a gang of criminals; Peachum, the king of the beggars; and Tiger &ndash: Brown, the corrupt police commissioner.

Mackie secretly marries Polly, Peachum's daughter. The Beggar &ndash: King is so infuriated that he threatens to disturb the coronation of the Queen by a beggars' demonstration unless the commissioner arrests Mackie. Mackie is arrested, but the procession nonetheless ends in chaos, for Peachum has been unable to call back his beggars.

Later, Mackie manages to escape and learns that Polly has set up a banking business. Although the beggars' demonstration causes the downfall of both Peachurn and Tiger &ndash: Brown, Mackie cares sufficiently for them to admit them as partners in Polly's bank. A new financial empire is in the making, and the three rogues become pillars of society.

Especially memorable are the settings of the imaginary Soho underworld with their period &ndash: parody, and the photography of Fritz Arno Wagner. The cast, too, was unerringly chosen. This film is one of Pabst's most felicitous successes.

See also...

VAMPYR

Inspiration for the story of Vampyr is credited to Sheridan le Fanu's "In a Glass Darkly". but only one story 'Carniilla" bears any relationship to the film. Rather than from any particular literary ... More »

Charley

Charley has the knack of turning into any conceiv­able thing, and he does this all the time to keep his pet cat amused. ... Lion of St. Mark, Venice Festival. ... More »

Midwife

"Midwife" documents the home birth practice of two licensed nurse-midwives. Including two home births, "Midwife" seeks to portray midwife-assisted home birth as a safe and medically responsible ... More »

WALKIN' ON A CLOUD

The story of a troubled teenager, his brother, a young, striving stand-up comedian, and his brother's friend and mentor - an aging and forgotten vaudevillian. The story is about alcoholism, but also ... More »

Corps Profond

By means of microphotography it is possible for a camera to track through the intricate passages of the human body, an active chemical factory tooled with organs which can be opened up and explored ... More »

As the Nightingale Waits for Summer

An account of the settlement of 400 white Russians on farms in Brazil. Apart from the fascinating nature of the undertaking it describes, the film gains much by its sympathetic evocation of the ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director