Wilhelm Thiele

Sog.: dall’operetta omonima (1931) di István Békeffy, tratta dal romanzo Mesék az írógépről (1905) di István Szomaházy. Scen.: Franz Schulz. F.: Otto Heller, Reimar Kuntze, Adolf Schlasy. M.: Paul Martin. Scgf.: Otto Hunte. Mus.: Paul Abraham. Canzoni: Robert Gilbert. Int.: Renate Müller (Vilma Förster), Hermann Thimig (Arval), Felix Bressart (Hasel), Ludwig Stössel (Klapper), Gertrud Wolle (la custode). Prod.: Universum-Film AG (UFA) DCPD.: 81’. Bn

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Ich bin ja heut so glücklich (Today I am so happy, so happy, so happy), the title of Paul Abraham’s song characterizes the film’s infectious cheerfulness. The story of a determined young woman who comes to town looking for a typing job and a rich husband sounds straightforward enough, but imaginative direction, catchy tunes and an exuberant cast made Wilhelm Thiele’s third talkie, shot with modestmeans, a hit all over Europe and in America too. It marked the breakthrough and greatest success for the young actress Renate Müller, who died just six years later at the age of 31. No less important for the film’s success, however, was the portrayal of a whimsical bank servant bythe irresistible Felix Bressart, who, after his emigration to Hollywood, dazzled audiences in Ernst Lubitsch’s Ninotchka, The Shop Around the Corner and To Be or Not to Be. After the tragic death of Renate Müller, who had fallen out of favor with Hitler and was being tailed bythe Gestapo, all prints of Die Privatsekretärin were withdrawn from circulation and the negative was thought to be destroyed. What survived was the English version of the film, Sunshine Susie by Victor Saville, in which Müller (unlike in the French version, Dactylo directed by Thiele himself, and in the Italian version, La segretaria privata, staged by Goffredo Alessandrini) also played the female lead. Not until the 1990s was the Bundesarchiv able to secure three reels of an English-subtitled print of the German original. In 2017, during a visit to the National Audio Visual Conservation Center in the Library of Congress collection, I found two 16mm prints of the film that could be scanned, though not without great effort. These, in combination with the other material, were enough for a complete digital reconstruction.

Stefan Drößler

Copy From

Restored in 2022 by Filmmuseum München at Alpha-Omega Digital laboratory, from incomplete 16mm and 35mm preserved by Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv and Library of Congress