Friday, September 27, 2013
September 27 (Friday)
Film screening — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Directed by Robert Siodmak
(Germany, 1930, 74 minutes, b/w, silent with live piano accompaniment by Mike Schiffer)
The flirtations of a summer Sunday at the beach in Weimar Germany provide the principal content of a film that helped launch the careers of some of 20th century Hollywood’s most influential filmmakers, including Robert Siodmak (THE KILLERS), Billy Wilder (SUNSET BOULEVARD), Fred Zinnemann (FROM HERE TO ETERNITY), horror movie screenwriter Curt Siodmak (THE WOLFMAN), and B-movie king Edgar G. Ulmer (DETOUR). Blending documentary footage and fictional storytelling, the film features the camera work of Eugen Schüfftan, better known for Fritz Lang’s spectacular METROPOLIS (1927)
A review in The Believer by Jessica Winter, former senior editor of Oprah's O. magazine:
The German silent film People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag, 1930) bills itself as “a film without actors.” But it’s not without stars—future stars, that is, of the behind-the-camera variety. Billy Wilder, who wrote the spare screenplay, would become one of the preeminent writer-directors of midcentury Hollywood: he made Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard and, in the space of just over one glorious year, Some Like It Hot and The Apartment. The codirectors were Robert Siodmak—who later helmed the sharp Burt Lancaster noirs The Killers (1946) and Criss Cross (1949)—and Edgar G. Ulmer, whose eclectic, super-low-budget résumé would eventually span melodramas, musicals, horror, and the grimy noir masterpiece Detour (1945). The assistant cinematographer was Fred Zinnemann, future director of High Noon (1952) and From Here to Eternity (1953). You can trace the DNA of a golden age in American cinema back to this quasi-documentary snapshot of a weekend in Berlin circa 1930.