Saturday, December 08, 2007

'The True Story of Lili Marlene'

Written and directed by Humphrey Jennings of the Crown Film Unit (also known as GPO Film Unit), 'The True Story of Lili Marlene' was released in 1944 and given a 'U' Rating by the British Board of Film Censors. Introduced by the actor Marius Goring the film depicts how an obscure pre-war song recorded in German by Lale Anderson became the unofficial anthem of both the Axis and Allied Forces after being broadcast by the German Forces Radio Broadcasts from Radio Belgrade.

As the film correctly depicts the tune was adopted by the British Eighth Army, with the soldiers and others often adding their own words in English. Also seen in the film is a British propoganda version recorded by Lucie Mannheim, and interviews with men of the Eighth Army telling what the tune meant to them. As the film was made in 1944 it was probably just a little too early for any of 'The D-Day Dodgers' versions to be included.

Although 'The True Story of Lili Marlene' is probably rarely seen, it is now available on DVD. I viewed this for the first time in December 2007. Other Crown Film Unit films from the war years that are also available on DVD or video include 'The Story of an Air Communiqué' (1940), 'Britain Can Take It' (1940), 'Christmas Under Fire' (1941), Britain at Bay' (1940), 'Men of the Lightship' (1940) and 'Before the Raid' (1943). The latter film is released on the same DVD as 'The True Story of Lili Marlene'. Frank Humphrey Sinkler Jennings also directed 'The Cumberland Story' (1946) in which my father and uncle had small parts.


Blogger Tomcann said...

You are right that 1944 was too early for the D day Dodgers version of Lili Marlene to be included in that film although it was after Rome was liberated on June 4th 1944 two days before the Normandy D day - that we were called "D Day Dodgers" by Lady Astor M.P.
Prior to that date of course both 1st and 8th Armies had many "D Days" but of course - they didn't really matter as we were still "auserhalb der kaserene"

Saturday, 08 December, 2007  
Blogger Boabbie said...

Where can we get them Joseph.

Saturday, 08 December, 2007  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

My sister bought the 'Lili Marlene' / 'Before the Raid' DVD via Amazon. The publisher is Panamint Cinema, Abercorn Schoolhouse, Newton, West Lothian, Scotland. EH52 BPZ. The website address on the sleeve is:

The 'Britain at Bay' video compilation (5 films) I bought in the Tullie House Museum Shop, Carlisle a couple of years ago, when they had a lot of tie-ins for the 60th Anniversary of the end of WW2. The address of the publisher on the sleeve is:
Royal Mail Film Library, Education House, Castle Road, Sittingbourne, Kent. ME10 3RL

BBC Radio Cumbria CSV used Tullie House Museum at Carlisle for a few days while there was an Imperial War Museum exhibition on at the same time, asking for people to tell their wartime stories for the "People's War" project. I was part of this team and this was one of the tie-in items on sale so I bought it. So, another place to try to purchase one could be the Imperial War Museum online shop.

Sunday, 09 December, 2007  
Blogger Peter G said...

Actually the lyrics go back to 1915, they were written by Hans Leibe.

There is every version, including The Ballad of the D-Day Dodgers, at this Italian website
here, Scroll down for the English text.

Tuesday, 01 January, 2008  

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