The Threepenny Opera [2 Discs] [Criterion Collection] [DVD] [German] [1931]
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Special Features

  • Disc One:
  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, made from a new film restoration element from the Bundesarchiv in Germany
  • Audio commentary by scholars David Bathrick and Eric Rentschler
  • Archival introduction by Threepenny stars Fritz Rasp and Ernst Busch
  • New, exclusive documentary on Threepenny's controversial journey from stage to screen
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • Disc Two:
  • L'opéra de Quat'sous, Pabst's French-language version of the film, starring Albert Préjean and Florelle
  • A multimedia presentation by film scholar Charles O'Brien on the differences between the English and French versions
  • Archival interview with Fritz Rasp
  • Galleries of production photos by Hans Casparius and production sketches by art director Andrej Andrejew
  • Plus: A new essay by film critic Tony Rayns


The Threepenny Opera
Filmmaker G.W. Pabst's adaptation of Bertoldt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera (Die Dreisgoschenoper) is every bit as good as the stage original, and sometimes even better. Filmed in both German and French versions with different casts (a planned English-language version was abandoned), Threepenny is most readily available today in its German incarnation. Rudolf Forster stars as robber captain MacHeath -- aka Mackie Messer, or Mack the Knife -- who falls in love with Polly (Carola Neher), daughter of beggar king Peachum (Fritz Rasp). Despising MacHeath, Peachum plots the thief's downfall with his best friend, corrupt police official Tiger Brown (Reinhold Schunzel). The satirical "happy ending" of the original -- MacHeath, en route to the gallows, suddenly and without motivation promoted to knighthood! -- is altered somewhat by Pabst and his scenarists to accommodate a swipe against Depression-era bankers. Lotte Lenya, Weill's wife, brilliantly repeats her stage role as Pirate Jenny. Stylistically, Threepenny Opera is a Georg Grosz drawing come to life; despite its 1890s London setting, the film's calculatedly tawdry veneer is clearly meant to represent the wide-open Berlin of the 1930s. For the record: the French version of Threepenny Opera starred Albert Prejean as MacHeath. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Image coming soon
    Rudolf Forster - Mackie Messer
  • Image coming soon
    Carola Neher - Polly Peachum
  • Image coming soon
    Margo Lion - Jenny
  • Albert Prejean
    Albert Prejean - Mackie Messer
  • Lotte Lenya
    Lotte Lenya - Jenny
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.