What is Hollywood, you ask, dear children? A quorum of whores babbling endlessly on about fucking while the bordello is razed for a penny arcade -- Paul Bern

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Armin Mueller-Stahl and Katharina Thalbach in Heiner Müller's infamous succes de scandale about the sad lot of songwriters in the GDR
A poignant memo on the legendary old Miramax stationery:

Mein Lieber Florian:

Great talking to you the other day! It's amazing how much the grandson of a Nazi aristocrat (you) and a pair of concentration camp survivors (me and Bob) have in common.

So -- to follow up on our discussion. Your brilliant film has undeniable power, but I think, as we discussed, that American audiences might find the emotions too "internal" and "opaque", etc.  I had a long talk with Bernie Taupin the other day and he finally saw your picture and agreed with me that it would make a TERRIFIC musical. 

He even pitched me some song ideas, nothing set in stone, though. Don't freak out:

"A Simple Servant of the State" and "I've Got You Under Surveillance"  (Gerd) Our protagonist declares his unsweving belief in the GDR system and the romantic power of surveillance.

"A Yellow Volume of Brecht" (Jerska's Lament) -- I see this as a set piece which concludes with the poor man's suicide -- not offscreen, of course.

"Marx has me seeing Blue" (Dreyman) as Georg starts to see the extent the GDR system has compromised his revolutionary ideals.

"Your Hands are Like Ice" (Duet: Christa Maria and Culture Minister Hampf): The rape scene, of course.

"Jokes about Comrade General Secretary" (Colonel Grubitz) sings this barrel polka style as he exposes the cynical workings of the upper reaches of the regime

"Fresh Fish" (A chorus of Stasi Officers and Prisoners) who reel off the litany of "crimes" that have led to their interrogations. Bernie sees this as a Weill-Brecht sort of song, angry and revolutionary.

"The Statistics of Suicide in the GDR" (Dreyman and the Spiegel Editor) Very Melancholy song, accompanied to the sound of -- what else? -- a typewriter.

"Verily, White Lies" (Gerd) sings this jaunty tune as he happily writes his falsified reports on the lives of Dreyman and Christa-Maria.

"You Have Not Betrayed Yourself" (Christa Maria, Dreyman and Gerd) sung as CM lies dying in the street, and she tries to reassure Dreyman and Wiesler that what has happened is not their fault.

"You'll Never Work in East Berlin Again" (Colonel Grubitz) sings this to Gerd as he exiles him to a life of misery

"Tear Down The Wall in My Heart" (Gerd and Dreyman) The closing duet of the film as Dreyman discovers and acknowledges his unknown benefactor.

As I said when we talked, we have to move fast, because Hanks' people are blitzing on Comrade Rockstar: The Musical, which would be a real headache for us. Some merciful soul needs to tell that guy he's too old for the part. Give me a call, day or night, to let me know what you think of these...

Harvey Weinstein

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