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V063: Solidarity Song: The Hanns Eisler Story

Rhombus Media and ARTE/ZDF-German Television Network, VHS (NTSC), color, in English and German with English subtitles (1996), 84:00.

Credits below.

Time Description
0:00 Credits. Photo of Eisler with voice-over.
1:00 Woman sings Eisler's cabaret song, "In Praise of Communism" (text by Bertolt Brecht)
2:15 More credits. Scenes of industry with workers playing instruments in the metal-working factory.
2:45 Interviews with people who knew Eisler.
3:50 Footage of Eisler reporting before the House Un-American Affairs Committee
4:20 Performance of the Theme and Variations, from Piano Pieces for Children, op. 31; photos and voice-over give Eisler biography
4:50 Interview with Georg Eisler, artist, son of Eisler's first wife, Charlotte
5:50 Scenes of battle in WWI; Eisler (voice-over) describes his war experience and his growing socialist consciousness
7:15 Interview with Georg Knepler, musicologist, describing the socialist literature that flourished after the October Revolution
8:05 Interview with Lulla Adler Rosenfeld, writer
8:20 Eisler reporting before a Congressional Committee
9:10 Voice-over relates Eisler's relationship to Schoenberg while pianist performs the Intermezzo from Eisler's Sonata for Piano, op. 1 (1923)
10:00 Interview with Stephan Hermlin, writer, who explains Eisler's place among Schoenberg's students more fully
11:00 Interview with HK Gruber, singer/conductor, who describes Eisler's activities with the working class
11:50 Performance of "The Ballad of Nigger Jim," op. 18
14:20 Interview with Gisela May, actress/singer
15:00 Footage of socialist parades; voice-over speaks to Eisler's belief that the composer must be an activist
15:30 Interview with Knepler
16:00 Interview with Hilde Eisler, Eisler's sister-in-law
16:20 Footage from Ernst Busch, The Secret Mobilization (1930). Chorus sings.
18:45 Interview with Eberhard Rebling, musician, who describes seeing Busch and Eisler perform
20:15 Knepler discusses Eisler and Brecht's collaboration
20:55 Footage from Kuhle Wampe (1931), an Eisler/Brecht film
21:20 Interview with Lou Eisler Fischer, Eisler's second wife
21:55 Performance of song, "Supply and Demand" from Die Massnahme (1930), text by Bertolt Brecht
24:50 Interview with Wolf Biermann, poet/writer
25:25 Scene from Kuhle Wampe
26:10 Interview with Georg Eisler; Hermlin and Rebling discuss the uses to which Eisler's music was put
27:00 Interview with Mordecai Bauman, singer
27:30 Performance of "Vorwärts! und nie vergessen" along with footage of socialist marches
29:35 Interview with Jürgen Schebera, Eisler biographer
30:05 Performance of Eisler's "Battlesong against Fascism" (1932); footage of Hitler motorcade
30:25 Knepler discusses Eisler's experience in Hitler's Vienna 
31:20 Performance of the "Song of a German Mother"
32:50 Footage of New York City; interview with Lou Eisler and with Bauman about Eisler's American experience
35:10 Footage of Los Angeles, photo of Eisler at his LA home
35:50 Scenes from None but the Lonely Heart, directed by Clifford Odets with music by Eisler
36:00 Interview with Norman Lloyd, actor/director, and with Hilde Eisler
37:20 Lou Eisler discusses Hollywood musicians, mostly European émigrés
38:10 Lloyd discusses Eisler's social circle in LA; Bess Boyle, writer, describes Eisler's winning personality at social gatherings
39:35 Recording of "The Invigorating Effects of Money" sung by Hanns Eisler
40:35 Georg Eisler describes his father's amusing personality when he was with crowds
42:00 Performance of a anti-war song
44:00 Interview with Lulla Rosenfeld recalling Eisler's relief at the end of the war
45:00 News story about the House of Representatives' Un-American Affairs Committee, interviewing J. Edgar Hoover
45:35 Lou Eisler describes Eisler's loyalty to his brother Gerhard, who had been acused of being a Communist agent
46:45 Hilde Eisler, Georg Eisler and Bauman describe the situation of the Eisler brothers, both of whom had been denounced by their sister
48:10 Footage of Eisler before the House U.A. Committee
49:35 Interview with Ring Lardner, Jr., screenwriter
50:00 More footage of Eisler
51:15 Interview with Ben Margolis, legal counsel; more footage of Eisler; interview with Bess Boyle
52:45 Newsreel of the Eislers leaving America
53:20 Performance of Moment Musical (1947)
55:10 Performance of the East German National Anthem by Eisler; footage of war-torn Germany
57:00 Interview with Manfred Wekwerth, theater director; interview with Gisela May
58:00 Footage of Russian newsreel from 1 May 1950; marches in Berlin; interviews with Biermann and Knepler
59:40 Footage of Eisler teaching at the Conservatory in East Berlin; more interview with Knepler
1:01:30 Interview with Wekwerth and Lou Eisler about Eisler's libretto Johann Faustus
1:02:40 Footage of Berlin, 17 June 1953
1:03:20 Performance of "The Flower Garden"
1:05:15 Gisela May, Schebera, and Wekwerth describe Eisler's unhappy life during the mid-'50s, his drinking habits
1:07:05 Performance of "Sadness" from Ernste Gesange (1961/62)
1:09:00 Interview with Stephanie Eisler, Eisler's widow
1:11:30 Biermann discusses Eisler's declining health; he was deeply affected by the deaths of Brecht and of Stalin.
1:12:30 Stephanie Eisler continues
1:13:10 Performance of the Deutsche Symphonie (1930-1958)
1:16:15 Schebera discusses the tragedy of Eisler's generation in East Germany
1:17:15 Stephanie Eisler recounts the events preceding Eisler's death
1:19:45 Georg Eisler discusses the ceremony accompanying Eisler's official funeral
1:20:25 Footage of Eisler's funeral
1:21:30 Performance of "In Praise of Communism"
1:22:40 Credits


Director: Larry Weinstein
Producers: Gabriele Faust and Niv Fichman
Writers: Larry Weinstein and Thomas Wallner
Associate producers: Daniel Iron and Barbara Willis Sweete

Piano: Christoph Keller
Singers: Robyn Archer, Stefanie Wüst, HK Gruber, Gisela May, Carmen-Maja Antoni, Andreas Scheibner
Clarinet: Richard Stoltzman
Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, conducted by HK Gruber
Berlin Rundfunkorchester and Choir, conducted by Dietrich Knothe