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Three From the Filling Station (Drei von der Tankstelle, Die)

Three From the Filling Station
Scene from "Three From the Filling Station" (photo © Filmmuseum Berlin/Deutsche Kinemathek)

Three well-off young men return home in a luxurious cabriolet to find that all their furniture has been seized. Their lawyer informs them that their bank has gone bankrupt and that they have lost their entire fortune. Instead of bemoaning the catastrophe, they open a petrol station which provides enough to live on, but does not make them rich. Willy, Kurt and Hans have no intention of allowing their friendship to suffer as a result of life's caprices. The appearance of a charming woman, however, poses a serious threat: all three fall in love with Lilian, although none of the three at first realizes that the same woman is taking them for a ride. Lilian enjoys their attention for a while, but then decides in favor of Willy and is faced with the difficult task of telling the other two. A major quarrel ensues, apparently leading to the end of the friendship between the three men, as well as of the romance between Lilian and Willy.

Lilian's wealthy father then starts a petrol company and engages the men as his directors and Lilian as the secretary. The ploy almost fails as Willy discovers who is really behind the newly founded company. Eager to show her prowess on the typewriter, Lilian types a marriage contract instead of the letter of resignation dictated by Willy. Willy signs the marriage contract without reading it. When he discovers what he has signed, his rage is only calmed by references to the legal consequences that would ensue in the event of a breach of contract. When Lilian tears up the paper in protest to Willy's harsh reaction, he starts to melt and the two fall into one another's arms...


Wilhelm Thiele was born as Wilhelm Isersohn in 1890 in Vienna and died in 1975 in California. After studying at the Vienna Conservatory, he worked as a stage actor at the Burgtheater in Vienna and at various theaters in Germany. In 1918, he began his career as a theater director at the Volkstheater in Munich, followed by his first outing in film in 1922 with Carl Michael Ziehrer, der letzte Walzerkoenig. In 1933, he emigrated to the USA, where he worked for the major studios 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and MGM. A selection of his other films includes: the silent classics Orient Express (1927), Hurrah! Ich lebe! (1928), and Adieu Mascotte (1929), as well as Liebeswalzer (1930), Three From the Filling Station (Die Drei von der Tankstelle, 1930), The Private Secretary (Die Privatsekretaerin, 1930), numerous episodes of the successful TV series The Lone Ranger (1950), Der letzte Fussgaenger (1960), and Sabine und die 100 Maenner (1960), among others.
Genre Comedy
Category Feature
Year of Production 1930
Director Wilhelm Thiele
Screenplay Franz Schulz, Paul Franck
Cinematography Franz Planer
Viktor Gertler
Werner Richard Heymann
Otto Hunte
Cast Lilian Harvey, Willy Fritsch, Oskar Karlweis, Heinz Ruehmann, Fritz Kampers, Olga Tschechowa, Kurt Gerron, Gertrud Wolle, Felix Bressart
Producer Erich Pommer
Production Company Universum-Film (Ufa)/Berlin
Length 99 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Versions English, French
Sound Technology Optical
German Distributor Transit Film/Munich

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