1936. Austria. Walter Reisch. 105 min.
Thursday, March 6, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
1936. Austria. Written and directed by Walter Reisch. With Paula Wessely, Karl Ludwig Diehl, Otto Tressler. Directed with panache by Reisch, the screenwriter of Maskerade, Ninotchka, The Great Waltz, Gaslight, That Hamilton Woman, and Niagara, this classic Wiener Film stars the beloved and talented Viennese-born actress Paula Wessely in a virtual reprise of her ingénue role in Maskerade. Here she plays an impoverished art student in inflation-wracked 1922 Vienna who resorts to accepting the financial support of a married art dealer, leading to all manner of comic deceit. Episode is the only Austrian film produced by Jews (Oskar Pilzer, president of Sascha-Film Industry, and Reisch) to premiere in Nazi Germany, owing largely to Wessely, who would soon become the leading female star of Nazi propaganda cinema: appearing in notoriously anti-Semitic films like Homeland, she was, as Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek would describe her years later, “the prototype of an actress in the Third Reich.” Courtesy Filmarchiv Austria and George Pilzer. In German; English subtitles. 105 min.