© 2014 William Ahearn

The last gasp of the Soviet-subsidized Prometheus Films and a cinematic presentation of Bertold Brecht’s learning plays (or Lehrstücke). Made by collaboration between director Slatan Dudow, Brecht, and a sports club that provided extras, among others, it was Prometheus’ only sound film.

The story begins in a tenement in Berlin with a struggling family and the suicide of the son who has been unemployed for six months. The family is evicted and takes refuge in a tent city outside of Berlin. From there – according to Bruce Murray in Film And The German Left In The Weimar Republic – “spectators are encouraged to challenge traditional perceptions of social organizations and interaction, including that of mass media entertainment.” The film was twice rejected by German censors before a final cut was released. The full German title is “Kuhle Wampe oder: Wem gehört die Welt?” Or, who does the world belong?

Written by Bertolt Brecht and Ernst Ottwald. Cinematography by Günther Krampf and original music by Hanns Eisler. Starring Hertha Thiele (right after “Mädchen in Uniform”), Ernst Busch, Martha Wolter, Adolf Fischer, and Lili Schoenborn-Anspach, among others.