Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehort die Welt [Who Owns the World] [Whither Germany]

Slatan Dudow (director)
Bertolt Brecht, Ernst Ottwald (screenwriter)
Hertha Thiele, Gerhard Bienert (starring)

Germany: Kinematrade, circa 1933. Vintage US poster for the 1932 German communist propaganda film "Kuhle Wampe oder Wem gehort die Welt?" The subtitle is seen here under the English translation "Whither Germany." Circa 1933, as identified by the name of the Philadelphia theatre on the poster.

The last and arguably most important communist film of the Weimar era, "Kuhle Wampe oder" is, according to screenwriter Brecht, a "Collective Presentation" that tells the tale of a family in early 1930s Berlin. After the son is prolongedly unemployed he commits suicide, and the family is forced to relocate to a shantytown known as "Kuhle Wampe," or "Empty Stomach." Created under severely limited material conditions, with filming constantly being broken up by the Weimar government's paramilitary SA agency, the film attempts to depict archetypes of the times, including an intellectual clash on a subway between members of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

Banned first by the failing Weimar Republic and subsequently by the Nazi Reich, the film was believed to have been lost until it reappeared, over 20 years later, in East Germany in 1958. This poster likely originates from screenings held in November 1933 by an unknown pro-communist organization in Philadelphia at the short lived, left-leaning Philkino theater. A US screening of this film, dating before the film's disappearance and only just after the very beginnings of Hitler's rise to power, makes this poster not only very scarce but one of significant historical value.

The poster, touting "Kuhle Wampe" as "The Film Hitler Burned," features an image of a man with a hammer and sickle attacking two snakes that form the Nazi swastika, and touts the involvement of members of the "Labor Sports Union" in the film.

9.5 x 13 inches, letterpress on pale, faded pink stock. Very Good condition, with a couple of tiny chips at the extremities and moderate creasing.

[Book #138407]