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Copyright Featured Image and Page Header Image: Moritz Seeler (Filmstudio 1929).

Three arguments to screen Menschen am Sonntag

Curating programmes of silent films implies a special task and challenge. The body of works concerned exists of films made in the period between 1895 and roughly 1927, so this raises the question what kind of relation these very old films could hold for an audience in the 21st century (see also Withall 2014). It is certainly necessary to bridge the gap of underevaluation caused by prejudices. Granted, there is a sliding scale of quality to acknowledge.

Some films need to be seen in their historical context in order to be able to enjoy them, they require indeed an effort to understand them. The task of the film curator is to do just this: discover the quality that is not immediatly obvious and recognizable.

But on the other hand, the spectrum of silent films contains also many impressive masterpieces that withstand the test of time gloriously and can be enjoyed autonomously, and yet they are still not widely known. It is one of the priviliges of a film curator to highlight these masterpieces of the early cinema.

In my view, Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday 1930) deserves to be screened regularly and frequently because it is an extraordinary silent film, with a timeless appeal. This case study elaborates on formulating arguments to support this statement. But first a two practical issues should be noted: providing a score for the film, implement the restoration of the film and how to promote it.

Providing a score for People on Sunday

Screening silent films entails also the inevitable necessity of thinking about adding appropiate music. Fortunately, there is a rich choice of options. In the case of People on Sunday there are various audio tracks available on the BluRay disc (region 1) and several other DVD-editions, but at a screening it is more rewarding to arrange for a live accompaniment because this results in a totally different viewing experience. The musicians give the audience their personal musical interpretations of the film and there will be a subtle resonance between audience and performers, and beween the old film and the new music. Especially with improvising musicians there is a positive tension of unsuspected twists and unpredictable moods. Live music is a kiss of life for silent films, see also Loiperdinger (ed. 2011).

What are the options for providing a score in the case of People on Sunday?

The most historically accurate approach would be to choose for a reconstruction of the original score played at the premiere in 1930. This score was compiled by Otto Stenzel who arranged several tunes from Czech composers into a medley, especially samples of Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride. However, there is a lack of exact documentation, meaning a reconstruction remains problematic.

A commonly used alternative is to ask a pianist to provide an improvisation. This practice has resulted in a wide range of professionals who offer high quality solo interpretations.

  • Regarding People on Sunday there is evidence of acclaimed performances by Donald Sosin (US), Neil Brand (UK), Darius Battiwalla (UK), Martin Rohrmeier (Germany), Stephan von Bothmer (Germany), Wilfried Kaets (Germany), Hilde Nash (Belgium) and Wim van Tuyl (the Netherlands).
  • Dutch pianist Wim van Tuyl chose another approach in 1999, selecting an informed medley of music taken from a historical collection of 78rpm gramophone discs. It was a reconstruction of a Filmliga screening in the thirties, which included the Dutch short film Kabels leggen (J. Claudinghk, 1929), an avant-garde documentary which is now almost been forgotten.
Also several new scores were composed for People on Sunday.
  • In 2000, Australian composer Elena Kats-Chemin made an orchestral score, commisioned by broadcast companies ZDF/Arte.
  • In 2005 German percussionist Steven Garling made his score for People on Sunday.
  • At the Rimusicazioni Film Festival in Bolzano four different scores were presented in 2008 and subsequently released on DVD.
  • In the United States the Mont Alto Orchestra presented their score in 2009 and recorded it two years later for the Criterion release.
  • On the Internet there are many traces to be found of other musical interpretations of People on Sunday. In 2002 the German Trio Bravo+performed their score at the ‘Jewish Culture Days’ in Berlin.
  • In 2003 another trio of German musicians made a tour of nine cinemas with their version, featuring Nils Rohwer (vibraphone & marimba), Jens Schliecker (piano) and Jens Tolksdorf (saxophone).
  • More recently the German DJ Raphaël Marionneau and DJ D’dread each made a score, which they both performed live in 2013.
  • The Alliage Orchestra, an occasional ensemble of Dutch composers and musicians, revived at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) 2014 their score made in 2000 consisting of a soundscape of electronic loops and grooves, samples and additional acoustically played music.
  • The most recent score is composed by Albert van Veenendaal, for a trio of altviolin, harp and prepared piano (February 2014 at the EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Amsterdam).

Preservation and restoration of People on Sunday

All these different approaches to musical interpretation were possible, because in the 1990s People on Sunday was carefully restored. The best-preserved print, surprisingly enough, proved to be available in Amsterdam.

People on Sunday was released in The Netherlands in November 1930 by the film club distributor Centraal Bureau Ligafilms and shown in Dutch film clubs in Rotterdam, Utrecht, Arnhem and later also in Amsterdam (in the cinema De Uitkijk, which still exists). This distribution 35mm print was stored safely through the years and ended up in the archive of the Dutch Filmmuseum (now Eye Filmmuseum).

In 1930, the intertitles of People on Sunday were translated into Dutch and also adapted into a minimalistic, modernist typography because this was the ‘corporate style’ of the avant-garde film club. The restoration included, among other elements, a return to the original German intertitles. During the restoration project all available versions were carefully compared and combined, yet there are seven or eight minutes of the original film that remain missing (circa 175 metres of celluloid).

Koerber (2000) offers a detailed report of the restoration. In 2014 a digital scan of the 35mm projection print was made and most of the scratches and other damages were cleaned up digitally.

How to promote People on Sunday

The task of a film curator in a film archive is to cherish the existence of all preserved films. The first step is to provide for a pristine print, but this alone is not sufficient. It is also necessary to show them to a large as possible audience. If you would schedule People on Sunday without further notice or elaboration, you probably end up with just a few visitors. How to convince potential target groups about how exciting and enjoyable these old films are? How to argue that silent films in particular present gripping stories and fascinating views, still perfectly recognisable to today’s viewers?

Inspiration could be found on the website of the DVD-label Criterion, which includes a set of promotion trailers for each of their releases. These trailers have a uniform format of enumerating three solid reasons why one might appreciate the movie in question. In the case of People on Sunday the three arguments are formulated as ‘The Timelessness of “Twenty-somethings”’, ‘Beautiful Berlin Before the War’ and ‘The Youthful Talent of Five Future Hollywood Masters’ (see

In an additional essay, commissioned by Criterion, film critic Noah Isenberg describes People on Sunday thus: “The style of the film is natural, the setting unpretentious, and the atmosphere, perhaps the core of the project, shamelessly flirtatious. More than anything else, a new kind of directness, an unmediated, unvarnished representation of every­day life as experienced by members of a young, urban consumer class, is what the filmmakers seem to have been after, in defiant contrast to the spectacular big-budget pictures being produced by UFA at the time.” (Isenberg, n.d.)

For a persuasive exposition of the unique quality and relevance of People on Sunday it is possible to expand on this. Prepare yourself for a long read!

Argument 1: The sparkling youth

In the summer of 1929, a group of ambitious young friends decided to make a realistic fiction film about a summer Sunday in Berlin. Their starting point for the project was the simple question: What do ordinary young people do on their day off? The answer was straightforward: on Sundays young people just enjoy their free time. To demonstrate this, two young men and three young women were chosen to pose as representatives of their generation. They act out how a typical Saturday night and Sunday might be for their generation. We see them taking the S-Bahn to the woods and beaches of the Nicholas See (Lake Nicholas). They chat and flirt and listen to music. As members of modern youth, they take a portable gramophone with them. The song ‘In einer kleinen Konditorei’ is presented as example of a popular tune of that time.

The result of shooting on weekends looks like a creative documentary. Through the eye of the camera we are given a comprehensive and relaxed portrait of daily life in 1929. People on Sunday offers journalistic and humorous observations on the social codes of urban leisure time and street life. Every scene is recorded on location, for the most part in the open air. There is time taken for some asides: we are following the protagonists on their day trip, but we also get extended glimpses of anonymous citizens. The result is an almost documentary representation of family recreation at the city beaches, with sunny bathing scenes contrasting with images of busy traffic and crowded public transport. Berlin was a large, vibrant city, and in 1929 life in Germany was still carefree. Following the footsteps of five easy-going young people having a good time, we get a clear and realistic view of the tolerant and relaxed atmosphere of this metropolis.

The opening sequence sets the mood. The film starts with a dynamic sequence of observations of city life, some skillful editing of moving trains, automobiles and pedestrians. The five protagonists are introduced through short vignettes. Two of them subtly emerge from the background of the traffic, they are initially shown without attracting special attention but are gradually highlighted. We see a road crossing near the subway station Bahnhof Zoo. The camera is placed high above the scene, offering a high angle view, not dissimilar to a modern-day surveillance camera. We watch from a distance what is happening on the street. A young woman is waiting, a young man saunter around her. It looks like an educational film about a predator circling around his prey. How will the male convince the female to join him for a date? We see how he takes his time, addresses her finally, but we are too far away to hear anything. Apparently, he is a smooth talker, because in the blink of an eye they are sitting together at a nearby cafe terrace, eating ice creams. The camera has advanced close by, sitting next to them low on the ground, offering us a clear view of their animated conversation. Naturally – it is a silent film – we still do not hear anything, but it soon become clear that she accepts a date for the next day, the famous Sunday. It is agreed that she takes a girl friend with her and he also is accompanied by a friend.

The process of dating and flirting in 1929 very much resembles the same activities in our times. The party on Sunday consists of the charming young man and his robust friend, whose girlfriend stays at home sleeping the whole day. The two remaining young women are competing for the attention of the only free man in the group. Their rivalry becomes more sharp-tongued along the day, but the summer is too sunny for dark jealousy to blossom. The blonde girl seems to fall into an amorous enchantment. There is even a clear hint of casual sex in the woods, but this passion flows away as easily as it manifests itself. In the glowing afternoon they decide to hire a pedalo. The two young gentlemen are showing off, playing around. Their attention is attracted by two other ladies in a rowing boat, who are pretending to be helpless damsels in distress, and very happy indeed to be rescued.

The story of the bashful romance has an open ending. The blonde girl and the charming young man promise to meet each other the following Sunday, but we know that it is very uncertain how this will turn out. To start with, when the girl is out of sight the men express their preference to attend a soccer match next week. It is a timeless truth: sports are the main rival in many love stories. The film closes with images of the empty streets, early Monday morning, soon filling with all the citizens of the big city who are starting their day of work. The graphic intertitles cry out: it is Monday again! The new working week starts with a strong and enormous longing for the next Sunday.

Argument 2: Berlin, Berlin

There are often moments where silent movies leave the spectators with a bittersweet feeling of nostalgia for the past, showing the details of daily life in bygone times. People on Sundayis a film which offers a series of these moments. Naturally, it is impossible for us to enter physically the year 1929, but for an instant we are able to cherish the thought that we could have been present there and then and that it would have been possible for us to mingle in the crowd. What a delight it would have been to wander around the town and observe the people!

However, it would be inevitable that our peception during this walk would be influenced by our knowledge of the historical events in Germany after 1929.

  • In the film there is, for instance, a sequence on the beach, with a photographer taking portraits of passersby (and some friends of the film team, such as actress/dancer Valeska Gert). It is a fascinating depiction of different behaviour before a camera: laughing, smiling and posing. Each take wonderfully halts in a freeze frame on the faces of a man, woman or child. This is a heartwarming scene, but today we inevitably notice that there are many Jewish faces among them. Their carefree holiday spirit betrays a dark shadow to us, because we know that it is very likely that within fifteen years these same people will either be murdered or forced to flee the country, as the mostly Jewish film crew indeed did.
  • Some outdoor scenes were shot at the Wann See, at that time this was just another city beach. The infamous ‘Wann See Conference’ was still far ahead.
  • Another historical landmark is the Brandenburg Gate. In the film there is only a glimpse of this imperial arch, as a detail in a montage sequence, but this monument has now become first and foremost a historically charged icon of Nazism.
  • Another small detail in the film is the group of marching soldiers. In 1927 this was maybe an innocent activity, but we cannot help but notice that the public on both sides of the street react with such enthusiasm that it might make us uncomfortable as they appear totally absorbed by this sight, applauding without restraint.

All these details disturb our sweet feelings of nostalgia. Still, the film will have a special resonance for everyone who visits Berlin and it would be fascinating to try to revisit the locations of the film and to duplicate the Sunday outing. This, however, would not be easy, because contemporary Berlin has changed beyond recognition, partly due to certain, well-known, historical events but also because of the general change in city development that arose later in the 20th century. Even the iconic trains of the S-Bahn have been modernised. The station kiosk with a wide assortment of services and products, such as a public telephone, a collection of audacious postcards, and glasses of fresh milk or ‘schorle morle’ (wine mixed with mineral water) has also been transformed into a melancholic landmark that has vanished from sight in our days.

Argument 3: A talented team

Everybody behind the camera was young, and nearly all were to become very famous later on. The ultra- low budget film was made as a collective effort by a very talented team of young professionals. Billy Wilder (23 years old in 1929) and Fred Zinnemann (22 years old) were destined to have lengthy successful careers in the film business. As we all know this happened in Hollywood because they were forced to leave Germany. The same goes for the brothers Robert Siodmak (aged 29) and Curt Siodmak (aged 27), and Edgar G. Ulmer (aged 25) and also director of photography Eugen Schüfftan (aged 36).

An account of their careers is easy to trace in various sources, starting with the Internet Movie Data Base ( for an inventory of the bare facts. I restrict myself to a very selective summary:

  • Eugen Schüfftan made stopovers in England (The Robber Symphony 1936), The Netherlands (Komedie om geld 1936) and France (Le quai des brumes 1938). He received the Oscar for Best Cinematography in 1962 for The Hustler (black & white, Cinemascope).
  • Edgar G. Ulmer acquired fame with low budget films such as the film noir Detour (1945).
  • Curt Siodmak became a slightly embittered scriptwriter for many B-movies.
  • His brother Robert Siodmak acquired fame as director of film noirs such as Phantom Lady (1944), The Killers (1946) and Criss Cross (1949).
  • Fred Zinnemann was an Austrian young man who got a film training in Paris, he became a mainstream director of big budget productions like From Here to Eternity (1953).
  • And Billy Wilder does not need any introduction.

People on Sunday has all the qualities of a very successful graduation film, only there was no film academy or any other formal training in these times. It is a timeless and inspiring example of what is possible if you go outside and follow your ambition and convictions. A group of young people made a film, with help from their amateur friends and together they achieved their mission: to show real life of real people on a summer’s day in Berlin. They made “without actors” as the subtitle proclaims.

The result is a hybrid film, combining staged reality with a wide range of cinematographic observations. In a gentle way the film makes fun of the star system and the cult of fabulous divas. Indeed, none of the actors of People on Sunday were professionals. Before their appearance in the film they had no formal training as actors. This is no problem, because in a silent film there is no need for professional diction. It is amazing how graceful and natural they move around, seemingly unaware of the camera. The visual style of the film granted them beautiful photographed close ups, just like real matinee idols. The camera work is dynamic, with a fluent variation of low and high angles, long shots and close ups. The editing is also well paced and rhythmic. The activities of the protagonists are interspersed with playful asides, like the aforementioned sequence of the photographer on the beach, without disrupting the main storyline. There is also a moment of mild satire in the scene ridiculing a proud nationalist sitting on a bench near a monumental statue, but People on Sunday shows us mostly a world without shadows.

People on Sunday marks the very end of the era of silent film, because the transition to film sound had already started in 1927. It was a good choice not to create a sound track, because the technology was still both primitive and complex, and the story of the big city and its citizens should indeed be told purely visually, without use of spoken dialogue. The intertitles are used with careful restraint, offering short sections of dialogue in a Berlin dialect. We witness also the well-balanced insert of several breathtaking montage sequences: a series of documentary takes, a free improvisation on the theme of life in the metropolis.People on Sundayis recommended to all who are in the mood to experience a moment of relaxed wandering around on a sunny day in Berlin.

To conclude: How to program People on Sunday?

It is necessary to keep in mind that silent films are best appreciated the way they were intended to be shown, namely on the big screen with a live musical accompaniment. Any single screening of People on Sunday in this mode can be made relevant and attractive for an audience of today.

Added value could possibly be found in scheduling a screening at the date of its official world premiere, 4 February 1930. We can look forward to the centennial celebration in 2030, but why not mark earlier anniversaries? Another option is to search for a special location, for instance an open-air screening during a summer festival on a city beach anywhere in the world. It is also possible to put the screening of this authentic and inspirational feature film in a broader context, in several ways. Here are a few options for curating a programme around this silent film.

A first option can be ‘curating by location’.The city of Berlin was a source of inspiration for various other Weimar films, for example:

  1. Die Stadt der Millionen: Ein Lebensbild Berlins (Adolf Trotz 1925, 80’)
  2. Berlin, die Sinfonie der Grossstadt (Ruttmann 1927, 69’)
  3. Markt in Berlin / Markt am Wittenbergerplatz (Wilfried Basse 1929, 20’)
  4. Jagd auf Dich: Filmdarsteller aus dem Kinopublikum (Ernst Angel 1930, 42’)
  5. Berliner Stilleben (László Moholy-Nagy 1931, 9’)
  6. Berlin Alexanderplatz (Piel Jutzi 1931, 90’, based on the novel by Alfred Döblin)

A second option can be to choose ‘curating by subject’, and select additional films based on their engagement with daily life of the lower classes in the Weimar period (1919-1933). Seen from this perspective we should start with investigating the corpus of ‘Zillefilms’, a series of impressionistic films made in the 1920s about the Berlin proletariat. These films contain realistic stories about workers and jobless people in tenement houses, depicting their gloomy existence in crowded living spaces in the ‘Hinterhof’. Examples include:

  • Die Verrufenen / Der fünften Stand (The Slums of Berlin, Gerhard Lamprecht 1925)
  • Die Unehelichen (Children of No Importance, Gerhard Lamprecht 1926)
  • Die Da Unten (Victor Janson 1926)
  • Menschen Untereinander (People Among Each Other, Gerhard Lamprecht 1926)
  • Schwere Jungen – leichte Mädchen (Carl Boese 1927)
  • Unter den Laterne (Under the Lantern, Gerhard Lamprecht 1928)
  • Grossstadtkinder (City Children, Arthur Haase 1929)

These examples could possibly be compared with other German ‘social problem films’ such as:

  • Hintertreppe (Backstairs, Leopold Jessner 1921, starring Henny Porten)
  • Die freudlose Gasse (Joyless Street, G.W. Pabst 1925, starring Greta Garbo, Asta Nielsen)
  • Die Gesunkenen (The Fallen, Rudolf Walter-Fein & Rudolf Dworsky 1926, starring Asta Nielsen)
  • So ist das Leben (Carl Junghaus1929, set in Prague)
  • Mutter Krausens fahrt ins Glück (Mother Krause’s Journey to Happiness, Piel Jutzi 1929)
  • Kuhle Wampe, oder: Wem gehört die Welt (Slatan Dudow 1932)
  • Die Carmen von St. Pauli (Docks of Hamburg, E. Waschneck 1928)
  • Jenseits der Strasse (Harbor Drift, L. Mitler 1929)
  • Razzia in St. Pauli (Raid in St. Pauli, W. Hochbaum 1932).

A third option can be ‘curating by theme’. At the Berlin International Film Festival 2007 a sidebar programme titled ‘City Girls: Images of Women in Silent Film’ was presented, containing People on Sunday and 29 other silent films. This is a specific aspect of the representation of the metropolis in ‘city symphonies’ and other silent films. There is a large corpus of silent movies about the big city, like the famous Rien que les heures (Nothing but Time, Alberto Cavalcanti 1926), or Chelovek s kino-apparatom (Man With a Movie Camera, Dziga Vertov 1929), but also the fiction film Piccadilly (E. A. Dupont 1929), or the lesser known documentary Welstadt in Flegeljahren: Ein bericht über Chicago (Heinrich Hauser 1931).

 People on Sunday offers an interesting addition to comparable impressions of big cities seen in other avant-garde silent films, such as Berlin, die Sinfonie der Grossstadt (Berlin: Symphony of the Big City, Walter Ruttmann 1927) or the short film Berliner Stillleben (László Moholy-Nagy 1931). In the same period another short avant-garde film was produced in France, also about daily life in the metropolis (in this case Paris) and observering the events in a holiday resort at the bank of the river Marne: Nogent, eldorado du dimanche (Marcel Carné 1929). The silent fiction film Au bonheur des dames (Julien Duvivier 1929) contains a sequence of an outing for the staff of the department store, enjoying themselves at the village L’isle-Adam. And we could think of an American silent movie like Lonesome (Paul Fejos 1928), with sequences of urban recreation at the beaches of Coney Island. A thematic correspondance with People on Sunday is also to detect in the German short film Ins Blaue hinein (Eugen Schüfftan 1931), an early sound film.

The metropolis is a favorable subject in many other sound films too. A few options are: La Seine a rencontré Paris (The Seine Meets Paris, Joris Ivens 1957), Ya shagayu po Moskve (Walking the Streets of Moscow, Gergiy Daneliya 1964) or Any Way the Wind Blows (Tom Barman 2003).

A fourth option can be ‘curating by association’, resulting in, for example, a line up as follows:

  1. Bank Holiday (Carol Reed 1938)
  2. Domenica d’Agosto (Sunday in August, Luciano Emmer 1950)
  3. Mne dvadtsat let (I am Twenty,Marlen Khutsiev 1965)
  4. Sonnabend, Samstag und Montag früh (Hannes Schönemann 1978)
  5. Du Mich Auch (Same to You, Dani Levy 1986)
  6. Mein Langsames Leben (Passing Summer, Angela Schanelec 2001)

These feature films could be screened in combination with shorts such as Noon Time Activities (Ernie Gehr 2004).

Start curating your own programme, or just go to visit the next screening of People on Sunday and experience a moment of relaxedly wandering around on a sunny day in Berlin. Hopefully this case study offered enough arguments and inspirations to do so.

  • Isenberg, N. (n.d.) ‘People on Sunday: Young People Like Us’, URL:
  • Koerber, M. (2000) ‘Menschen am Sonntag: a Restoration and Documentation Case Study’. in M-P. Meyer & P. Read (eds) Restoration of Motion Picture Film, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, pp. 231-241. Originally published in Cinegrafie 11 (1998) pp. 262-274.
  • Loiperdinger, M. (ed. 2011) Early Cinema Today – KINtop1: The Art of Programming and Live Performance, New Barnet: John Libbey Publishers.
  • Withall, K. (2014) Studying Early and Silent Cinema, Leighton Buzzard: Auteur Publishing.

This case study has been published in: Bosma, P. (2015) Film Programming: Curating for Cinemas, Festivals, Archives. London/New York: Wallflower Press/Columbia University Press, pp. 94-105.


Menschen am Sonntag, ein Film ohne Schauspieler
Germany, 1930, 73’30’’ (22 frames/seconds, 1.839 meters), 35mm, full frame, black & white, silent, German intertitles. Original length: 2014 meters.
  • Directed by: Robert Siodmak & Edgar G. Ulmer & Rochus Gliese. Camera: Eugen Schüfftan & Fred Zinnemann.
  • Scenario: Billie Wilder & Curt Siodmak.
  • Production & art-direction: Moritz Seeler (Filmstudio 1929).
  • Music score (1930): Otto Stenzel.
  • With: Brigitte Borchert, Christl Ehlers, Erwin Splettstösser, Wolfgang von Waltershausen, Annie Schreyer.
See also:
Some selected recent reviews, in English:
Documentation, in English:
In French:
  • Bellour, R. (2009) Les Hommes, le dimanchede Robert Siodmak et Edgar G. Ulmer. Crisnée: Editions Yellow Now.
In German:
  • Jatho, G. & R. Rother (eds. 2007) City Girls, Frauenbilder im Stummfilm: Zur Retrospektve der Deutschen Kinemathek, Museum für Film und Fernsehen und Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin. Berlin: Bertz + Fischer Verlag.
  • Löser, C. (2003) ‘Ereignislose Ereignisse: Ein Film von utopischem Potenzial’, in: Film Dienst, Februar 2003.
  • Prümm, K. (2017) ‘Resümee einer Epoche und Vorschein des modernen Films: Menschen am Sonntag von Robert und Kurt Siodmak, Billie Wilder und Eugen Schüfftan’, in: Preusser, Heinz-Peter (ed. 2017) Späte Stummfilme: Ästhetische Innovation im Kino 1924-1930. Marburg: Schüren, pp. 345-375.
Context Notes – (German) emigré-directors in Europe and Hollywood:
  • Elsaesser, Th. (1997) ‘Ethnicity, Authenticity, and Exile: A Counterfeit Trade? German Filmmakers and Hollywood’, in: Naficy, H. (ed.), Home, Exile, Homeland: Film, Media, and the Politics of Place.New York/London: Routledge, pp. 97-123.
  • Gemünden, G. (2014) Continental Strangers: German Exile Cinema 1933-1951. New York: Columbia UP.
  • Morrison, James (1998) Passport to Hollywood: Hollywood Films, European Directors.Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Petrie, G. (2002) Hollywood Destinies: European Directors in America, 1922-1931. London: Routledge (first edition: 1985).
  • Smedley, Nick (2001) A Divided World: Hollywood and Emigré Directors in the Era of Roosevelt and Hitler, 1933-1948. London: Intellect.
  • Taylor, J. R. (1983) Strangers in Paradise: The Hollywood Emigrés 1933-1950.London: Faber and Faber.
  • In Dutch:Dittrich, K. (1987) Achter het doek: Duitse emigranten in de Nederlandse speelfilm in de jaren dertig.Houten: Het Wereldvenster ( University of Amsterdam, 1987).
  • Horton, R. (2002, ed.) Billy Wilder: Interviews
  • Isenberg, N. (2014) Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Smyth, J. E. (2014) Fred Zinnemann and the Cinema of Resistance. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
Context Notes – Weimar cinema
  • Brennicke, I. & J. Hembus (1983) Klassiker des deutschen Stummfilms 1910–1930. München: Goldmann.
  • Calhoon, K. S. (ed. 2001) Peripheral Visions. The Hidden Stages of Weimar Cinema, Wayne State UP.
  • Eisner, L.H. (1969) The Haunted Screen: Expressionism in the German Cinema and the Influence of Max Reinhardt. Berkeley: University of California Press. Orignally L’écran démoniaque(Paris, 1952), German translation: Die dämonische Leinwand(Fischer, 1975).
  • Elsaesser, Th. (2000) Weimar Cinema and After. Germany’s Historical Imaginary,Londen/New York: Routledge. German translation (1999): Das Weimarer Kino. Aufgeklärt und doppelbödig, Berlijn: Verlag Vorwerk 8.
  • Guerin, F. (2005) A Culture of Light: Cinema and Technology in 1920s Germany, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Isenberg, N. (ed. 2009)Weimar Cinema: An Essential Guide to the Classic Films of the Era, New York: Columbia UP.
  • Kracauer, S. (1947) From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film, Princeton: Princeton UP. German translation: Von Caligari zu Hitler: Eine psychologische Geschichte des deutschen Films, Frankfurt, 1979 (ed. Witte). English revised and expanded edition: Princeton: Princeton UP 2004 (ed. L. Quaresima).
  • Petro, P. (1989) Joyless Streets. Women and Melodramatic Representation in Weimar Germany, Princeton: Princeton UP.
  • Pflaum, H.G. (2002) German Silent Movie Classics, Wiesbaden: Friedrich-Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung/München: Transit Film GmbH.
  • Roberts, I. (2008) German Expressionist Cinema: The World of Light and Shadow, London and New York: Wallflower.
  • Rogowski, Ch. (2010 ed.) The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema: Rediscovering Germany’s Filmic Legacy. Rochester: Camden House.
  • Wedel, M. (ed. 1996) A Second Life: German Cinema’s First Decades.Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP.
Context Notes – Daily Life in Berlin
 Film critic and journalist Siegfried Kracauer observed daily life in Berlin and published a series of articles:
  • Kracauer, S. (1930) Die Angestellten. English translation: ‘The Salaried Masses. Duty and Distraction in Weimar Germany’.
  • Kracauer, S. (1995) The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays. (edited by Th. Y. Levin) Cambridge: Harvard UP.
  • Kracauer, S. (1987) Strassen in Berlin und anderswo. Berlin: Das Arsenal.
  • Stalder, H. (2003) Siegfried Kracauer: Das journalistische Werk in der “Frankfurter Zeitung”, 1921-1933. Würtzburg: Köningshausen und Neumann.
Novelist Joseph Roth also lived in Berlin and worked as a journalist in the period 1920-1933.
  • Roth, J. (2003) What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-33.(translation by M. Hoffmann, German selection by Michael Bienert) London: Granta.
  • Bienert, M. (ed. 2010) Joseph Roth in Berlin: Ein Lesebuch für Spaziergänger.
  • Roth, J. (2014) Drei Sensationen und zwei Katastrophen: Feuilletons zur Welt der Kinos. Edited by Helmut Peschina and Rainer-Joachim Siegel. Göttingen, Wallstein Verlag.
Billy Wilder published several texts too:
  • Wilder, B. (1996) Der Prinz von Wales geht auf Urlaub: Berliner Reportagen, Feuilletons und Kritiken der zwanziger Jahre. Berlin: Fannei und Walz.
  • Der Teufelsreporter: Im Nebel der Grossstadt(Ernst Laemmle, 1929). Scenario: Billie Wilder.
Further reading (in English and German) about the city of Berlin in the Weimar period (1919-1933):
  • Arnheim, R. (1928) Stimme von der Galerie: 25 kleine Aufsätze zur Kultur der Zeit. Berlin: Benary. Reprint: Berlin: Philo Verlag, 2004.
  • Everett, S. & S. Keegan (1984) Lost Berlin, Gallery Books.
  • Glatzer, R. (ed. 2000) Berlin zur Weimarer Zeit: Panorama einer Metropole.
  • Gleber, A. (1998) The Art of Taking a Walk: Flanerie, Literature, and Film in Weimar Culture. Princeton UP.
  • Hessel, F. (1929) Ein Flaneur in Berlin. With photographs of Friedrich Seidenstücker. Reprint: Berlin, Verlag Das Arsenal, 2011.
  • Hessel, F. (1929) Spazieren in Berlin. Reprint: Berlin, Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg, 2011.
  • Hosfeld, R. (2012) Tucholsky: Ein deutsches Leben. München: Siedler Verlag.
  • Kaes, A. & M. Jay & E. Dimendberg (1995) The Weimar Republic Sourcebook. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Keel, D. & W. Stephan (eds. 2007) Das Tucholsky Lesebuch. Rowohlt/Diogenes.
  • Sander, A. (1929) Antlitz der Zeit.
  • Sander, A. (2010) Menschen des 20. Jahrhunderts: die Gesamtausgabe in einem Band. München: Schirmer/Mosel Verlag. See also
  • Whyte, I. B. & D. Frisby (2012, eds) Metropolis Berlin 1880-1940. Berkeley: University of California Press.
People on Sunday (1930) is available on DVD and Bluray:
  • Eye Filmmuseum (Amsterdam, 2000), region 2. Contains the orchestral score of Elena Kats-Chemin performed by Czech Film Orchestra, and the musical accompaniment by the Alliage Orkest, an ensemble of Rotterdam based composers and musicians: Frank van Berkel, Arthur Sauer, Ab Heute (Joop van Brakel) and Michiel Scheen. Bonus materials: a sample of the restoration, and the documentary Weekend am Wannsee(2000, 35’) made by film historian Gerard Koll, containing among others an interview with Curt Siodmak and actress Brigitte Borchert.
  • German edition (Präsens Film/ZYX Music, 2006), region 2. Musical accompaniment by Steven Garling (percussion), and the orchestral score of Elena Kats-Chemin, performed by Czech Film Orchestra. Bonus materials: the documentary Weekend am Wannsee(Gerard Koll 2000, 35’).
  • BFI edition (2005), region 2. Part of the series ‘History of the Avant-Garde’. Bonus material: “This Year – London” (John Krish, 1951, 23’) + BFI Bluray edition (2019).
  • Rimusicazioni Film Festival (2008), region 2, published by Harlock & Cineforum Bolzano. Contains four scores: Otto Stenzel (reconstruction), Loïc Dijan, Tiziano Popoli & Sonata Island, and El Muniria (Massimo Carozzi & Emidio Clementi),
  • A.Z. Filmedition (2010), region 2, published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in their series ‘Momente des deutschen Films’.
  • Criterion Collection (2011), region 1. Scores by Elena Kats-Chemin and by the Mont Alto Orchestra. Bonus material: the documentary Weekend am Wannsee(Gerard Koll 2000, 35’) and the short film Ins Blaue hinein(Eugen Schüfftan 1931, 36’). Also available on Blu-Ray.
Some screenings in The Netherlands
  • 1930 Filmliga screenings in Rotterdam, Utrecht, Arnhem and Amsterdam (cinema De Uitkijk). Combined with a short propaganda film about traffic in Berlin and the short Dutch avant-garde film Kabels leggendirected by J. Claudinghk.
  • 1999 accompagnied by Wim van Tuyl with a selection of old gramophone records. Part of the programme “Het tegengif van de Filmliga” presented by the Dutch Filmmuseum. Combined with Jagd auf dich (Ernst Angel, 1930).
  • 2000 accompagnied by the Alliage Orchestra, with a new score, presented in several cinemas.
  • 2009, accompanied by pianist Wim van Tuyl, in cinema Lantaren/Venster (Rotterdam).
  • 23 february 2014, in Eye Filmmuseum (Amsterdam), with a new score composed by Albert van Veenendaal, performed by Oene van Geel (viola), Miriam Overlach (harp) en Albert van Veenendaal (prepared piano).
  • 26 february 2015 in Eye Filmmuseum (Amsterdam), part of the lecture series This is Film!Presentation of the digital restored print, with a registration of the accompagniment of pianist Donald Sosin.
  • 16 may 2016 in Filmhuis Den Haag, accompagnied by the popband Mik Adrian.
  • 8 juli 2018 in Eye Filmmuseum, accompagnied by Martin de Ruiter and Thijs Havens (keyboards, gitaren en bandoneon), part of a Billy Wilder retrospective.
  • 15 september 2019 in the Arena of Eye Filmmuseum, accompagnied by the jazz band New Cool Collective with additional projections. Part of the EU initiative A Season of Classic Films.