Ein nicht anerkannter britischer Durchbruch: Franz Fühmanns Beitrag zum Erfolg des Films ‘Der Schwur des Soldaten Pooley’

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Abstract

The article reconstructs the history and provides a critical analysis of the only cinematic co-production between the UK and the GDR, 'The Story of Private Pooley', a film made and completed in the months immediately before and after the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, based on a script by Franz Fuehmann. It was directed by Kurt Jung-Alsen and included a mainly British cast of actors. It was first shown in the GDR at the end of 1961 then enjoyed considerable popular success in UK cinemas in 1962-63. The article focuses on the Fuehmann's role as author of the screenplay and the ways in which he transformed the original documentary account of Pooley's life by Cyril Jolly (1956) into a Brechtian parable that appealed to both East German and British audiences at one of the darkest points in the history of the Cold War. The context of the greater international impact made by East German war-films than their West German counterparts in the later 1950s is reconstructed in order to explain the unexpected willingness of prominent figures from UK cultural life (Lindsay Anderson, Charles Cooper) to support this unprecedented piece of collaboration.
Original languageGerman
Title of host publicationDichter sein heißt aufs Ganze aus sein’ – Zugänge zu Poetologie und Werk Franz Fühmanns
EditorsBrigitte Kruger
Place of PublicationFrankfurt, Germany
PublisherPeter Lang Publishing Group
Pages201-217
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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