Lili Marlene — All about That 1944 Documentary

The True Story of Lili Marlene (1944 documentary) , 23 February 2015

 This is the full version of the famous documentary film laying out the background story of the song ‘Lili Marlene’ which was made in 1944 by Humphrey Jennings using actors as well as authentic war-time footage and personalities with connections to the song. Hans Leip wrote the words of ‘Lilli Marleen’ in 1915 when he was just 22 but the music, by Norbert Schultze, to the poem was not composed until 1938 and the first recording was by Danish singer Lale (pronounced ‘Lahlay’) Anderson in 1939, then titled “The Girl Under the Lantern”, and sung in German. The song was adopted by the Nazis and was broadcast on a propaganda radio programme for some 500 continuous nights and was eventually heard by the Eighth Army who tuned in to the programme having no other entertainment and then adopted it as their own, so it became the most popular war-time song for both sides of the conflict. Arguably the most famous version is by Marlene Dietrich who changed the spelling to her name, but there have been many different lyric versions written in translation… There are interesting clips in the film of Lale Anderson herself singing her famous song, though nowhere is there mention of the poem written by Hans Leip in 1915.

The copyright of this film belongs to the original owners.

ALSO SEE …………..’the-true-story-of-lili-marlene’?sort=mostpopular&excludenudity=true&mediatype=photography&phrase=%27the%20true%20story%20of%20lili%20marlene%27


aa-lli ….. marlene-dietrich-lili-marlene

A NOTE from MICHAEL MORLEY, pianist, dramatist & art critic, 18 September 2016

Strange connections……I knew the story( though not the fact that the lyrics were written in 1915!) about the song , and  have a vaguely personal link to the composer. Norbert Schulze was a relative of the German film and stage director, and actor, Richard Revy, who discovered Lotte Lenya in Zurich round 1917. Years later Richard married Alma Jo Revy, a dancer from a wealthy Swiss family. They, like Weill and Lenya, moved to the States when the Nazis came to power, and Weill and Jo started an affair. (Where is this going, you may ask?).

Well, I was lucky enough to meet the wonderful Jo in the 80s and spent time with her until she died aged 99. She always seemed years younger than her actual years; had a beautiful apartment in Zug in Switzerland, with Renoirs, Picassos and Matisses on the walls, and she would always insist on my staying with here, where she would keep me entertained and instructed for hours with reminiscences and stories of everyone from Thomas Mann to Brecht. Richard, her husband (to be seen in the film Casablanca, as one of the Nazis!) had died in the 1960s: but she would catch up with Norbert Schultze (the composer) at least on ce a year for a holiday. She was well aware of his past, but always maintained he was naive and a typical (!) musician, and ‘family is family’….

There is also a documentary about Norbert S., as well, which does not gloss over his links to the Nazis: at one stage he even tells a story about Goebbels giving him MUSICAL advice on a march he was writing for the Nazis!


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