Ich Bei Tag Und Dubeinacht

Ludwig Berger

Tit. It.: “Io Di Giorno, Tu Di Notte“; Scen.: Robert Liebmann, Hans Szekely; F.: Friedl Behn-Grund, Bernhard Wentzel; M.: Viktor Gertler, Heinz Janson; Scgf.: Otto Hunte; Cost.: Joe Strassner; Trucco: Emil Neumann, Hermann Rosenthal, Maria Janitzky; Mu.: Werner Richard Heymann; Int.: Käthe Von Nagy (Grete), Willy Fritsch (Hans), Amanda Lindner (Cornelia Seidelbast), Julius Falkenstein (Krüger), Elisabeth Lennartz (Trude, Figlia Di Krüger); Prod.: Erich Pommer Per Ufa; 35mm. L.: 2611 M. D.: 96’. 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

Two people find themselves renting the same room. Hans, a waiter in a nightclub, uses it during the day and Grete, a manicurist, uses it at night. Even though they never meet, the two cannot stand each other. After a series of misunderstandings, love blossoms. Ludwig Berger (1892-1969) was a musicologist and director of opera and ballet; his film career focussed on the musical, especially the Romantic-Viennese musical. He worked in a number of different countries, despite crises and wars, but his most famous film (Walzerkrieg, with its extraordinary team of Paul Hörbiger, Willy Fritsch, Renate Müller and Adolf Wohlbrück) and his greatest work (Ich bei Tag und du bei Nacht) were both made in Germany. Between 1927 and 1930 he worked in Hollywood (Playboy of Paris with Maurice Chevalier, The Vagabond King with Jeannette MacDonald, both 1930) and later in Holland (Pygmalion, 1937), France (Trois valses, 1939) and England, as one of the three named directors of Korda’s super-production, The Thief of Bagdad (1940). Nowadays this film is usually remembered as a Michael Powell movie, which is fair enough, but some of its most original ideas can already be seen in Ich bei Tag und du bei Nacht. Curiously, Berger ended his life running a brasserie in Luxembourg. Ich bei Tag und du bei Nacht is one of the crowning glories of the German musical and a forerunner of many of the great musicals to come. It relates to contemporary works such as Love Me Tonight (Mamoulian) or Sous les toits de Paris (Clair) with its gentle handling of ordinary neighbourhoods and day-to-day activities, as in the depictions of early morning that particularly interested Zavattini and musical directors in general. The musical’s success stems from its simple plot and minimal stage props, which leave the camera free to illustrate the play of narrative fabrication and construct dreamy images of wish fulfilment. This stunning collage is based on a very subtle variation of points of view. Realistic and unrealistic elements are beautiful combined, kitsch and operetta are tenderly and ironically intertwined and a sense of the metafilmic, almost a film within a film, is juxtaposed with the concrete reality of the moving camera, the act of projection etc. All this is held together by Berger’s natural sense of spectacle, which makes Ich bei Tag und du bei Nacht an authentic predecessor to The Thief of Bagdad.

Peter von Bagh

Copy From

Print Made In 1994 From A Sound Dupe Negative Held At Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv And A Picture Dupe Negative Held At Murnau Stiftung