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Playing for Time (1980)

Female prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp (Auschwitz) are spared from death in return for performing music for their captors.

Directors:

Daniel Mann, Joseph Sargent (uncredited)

Writers:

Arthur Miller, Fania Fénelon (autobiography: "The Musicians of Auschwitz")
Reviews
Popularity
4,423 ( 295)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Redgrave ... Fania Fenelon
Jane Alexander ... Alma Rose
Maud Adams ... Mala
Christine Baranski ... Olga
Robin Bartlett ... Etalina
Marisa Berenson ... Elzvieta
Verna Bloom ... Paulette
Donna Haley Donna Haley ... Katrina
Lenore Harris Lenore Harris ... Charlotte
Mady Kaplan ... Varya
Will Lee ... Shmuel
Anna Levine ... Michou
Viveca Lindfors ... Frau Schmidt
Melanie Mayron ... Marianne
Marcell Rosenblatt Marcell Rosenblatt ... Giselle
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Storyline

In World War II, the Jewish French musician and cabaret singer Fania Fenelon Goldstein is sent by the Nazis from Paris to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The guards take her clothing and luggage and they cut her hair very short. One day, when she is very weak, she hears someone asking whether any prisoner could sing Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly and she joins the group of musicians that have been spared from the gas chambers to entertain the Nazis performing music for them. She convinces the conductor Alma Rose to invite her friend Marianne, telling that she would be a talented singer. Along the years of abusive treatment, they survive but losing their dignity. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

30 September 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Playing for Time See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Szygzy Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite controversy and attempted boycotts, the 3 hour film was the highest viewed program of the week, with 20.4 million American homes watching its debut. See more »

Goofs

Upon joining the camp orchestra, Fania Fenelon (Vanessa Redgrave) is asked by the women's commandant for her shoe size. Fenelon replies with the American shoe size "9", whereas in reality she would have given the European equivalent size of 40. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Paradise Road (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Un bel di vedremo
(uncredited)
from "Madama Butterfly"
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Lyrics by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The best TV production ever.
3 April 1999 | by hooshiSee all my reviews

Firstly I have to say that this is not your usual stereotype Jewish holocaust movie: It goes much, much beyond any ideological rhetoric, to deal with Human condition.However, you have the Concentration Camp as a background for one of the best contemporary playwrights (arguably The best!) to create and develop his masterpiece .It is worthwhile to know that Arthur Miller persisted in his demand to put Venessa Redgrave in the the leading role, in spite of all the threats and protests of JDL.Here, she presents one of her most magnificent performances as an Artist trapped in the most dehumanizing conditions one could imagine.The dialogue is absolutely superb, and the actings are quite decent.A must see.


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