Marriage in the Shadows

104 mins.
Directed by Kurt Maetzig
German with subtitles

Free screening! Amherst Cinema Members can reserve free tickets online. General admission free tickets available only at the Amherst Cinema box office (not online).

Introduction by Barton Byg, UMass Amherst.

The first German feature film to address the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany—only two years after the end of WWII—MARRIAGE IN THE SHADOWS called on Germans to accept collective responsibility for the crimes of the Third Reich.

Based on real events over a period of ten years in Nazi Germany, this film tells the story of celebrated actor Hans Wieland and his wife, the Jewish actress Elisabeth Maurer. As anti-Semitic policies increasingly infringe on their lives, they struggle to survive, until Hans is given an ultimatum: save himself by divorcing his wife.

Director Kurt Maetzig dedicated his debut film to telling the story of the acclaimed German theater couple, Meta Wolff and Joachim Gottschalk. Maetzig, whose own Jewish mother had committed suicide to avoid deportation, based the script on a novella by Hans Schweikart, a personal friend of the Gottschalks. Shown in all four sectors of occupied Berlin and across Germany, the initial release of the film reached 10 million viewers. It premiered in the US at the Little Met Theater in New York on September 16, 1948.