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Romance in a Minor Key (Romanze in Moll)

Romance in a Minor Key
Scene from "Romance in a Minor Key" (photo courtesy of Filmmuseum Berlin/Deutsche Kinemathek)

Paris, late 19th century. Madeleine leads a double life. She is married to an upright, honorable bank clerk, a model husband who hardly knows his wife. The young composer Michael falls in love with Madeleine; he gives her a valuable pearl necklace because she inspired his "Romance in a Minor Key". She tells her husband the pearls are only a cheap imitation. While her husband is away, Madeleine and Michael visit the latter's brother; the rich playboy Viktor falls in love with the woman and leaves no stone unturned in his efforts to make her his. Viktor is appointed manager of the bank in which the unsuspecting husband works; he promotes the husband and transfers him to another branch so that he can devote his attention to Madeleine without interference. When this strategy also proves unfruitful, he tries to blackmail her with his knowledge of her liaison with Michael. In a fit of despair after the première of "Romance in a Minor Key", Madeleine takes an overdose of sleeping pills in order to protect her husband from the truth. Michael challenges Viktor to a duel and kills the playboy.

Helmut Kaeutner was born in 1908 in Duesseldorf and died in 1980 in Italy. He studied German, Art History, Philosophy, Psychology and Theater Studies and was one of the founding members of the cabaret group "Die vier Nachrichter", which was banned in 1935. Originally working in the theater as an actor and director, he began his film work as a scriptwriter. His directorial debut was with the film Kitty and the World Conference (Kitty und die Weltkonferenz, 1939), but the film was withdrawn by the Nazi government due to its "pro-English tendencies". His other films include: Kleider machen Leute (1940), Auf Wiedersehen, Franziska! (1941), Anuschka (1942), Romance in a Minor Key (Romanze in Moll, 1943), Great Freedom No. 7 (Grosse Freiheit Nr. 7, 1944), Seven Journeys (In jenen Tagen, 1947), The Original Sin (Der Apfel ist ab, 1948), The Last Bridge (Die letzte Bruecke, 1953) - winner of a German Film Award in 1954, Sky Without Stars (Himmel ohne Sterne, 1955), The Devil's General (Des Teufels General, 1955), The Captain of Koepenik (Der Hauptmann von Koepenik, 1956) - winner of two German Film Awards in 1957, The Affairs of Julie (Die Zuercher Verlobung, 1957), The Restless Years (Zu jung, 1958), Stranger in My Arms (Ein Fremder in meinen Armen, 1959), Lausbubengeschichten (1964), and Die Feuerzangenbowle (1970), among others.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1943
Director Helmut Kaeutner
Screenplay Willy Clever, Helmut Kaeutner
Cinematography Georg Bruckbauer
Anneliese Sponholz
Lothar Bruehne, Werner Eisbrenner
Otto Erdmann, Franz F. Fuerst
Cast Marianne Hoppe, Paul Dahlke, Ferdinand Marian, Siegfried Breuer, Eric Helgar, Karl Platen, Anja Elkhoff, Elisabeth Flickenschildt, Walter Lieck, Ernst Legal, Hans Stiebner
Producer Hermann Grund
Production Company Tobis-Filmkunst/Berlin
Length 100 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Original Version
Sound Technology Optical
German Distributor Transit Film/Munich

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