Set in the impoverished back alleys of Victorian London, The Threepenny Opera follows underworld antihero Mackie Messer (a.k.a. Mack the Knife) as he tries to woo Polly Peachum and elude the authorities. Set to Kurt Weill’s irresistible score, this remains a benchmark of early sound cinema.
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I cannot yet sort out this narrative's gradations of social criticism--in principle, only the thoroughly socially helpless are without blame, though Pabst & the writers' cynicism questions whether such a class even exists in this kind of enterprise culture. This film seems to solve so many issues of representation & dramaturgy, of how to balance psychology & political function. Faces, gestures, music, light & shadow.
Oh man this film is great! The story telling is subtle and the moral implications are grand. This has some of the most memorable sequences I've had the pleasure witnessed. The movie might be a bit slow for some, but I personally enjoyed the pace of it. I can't wait to see pandora's box!
This film is the embodiment of the very best film artistry that the Weimar era had to offer. Expressionist theatre, music, and film! Interestingly, both Brecht and Weill tried to stop the film being made on account of the screenplay's deviance from the original stage production. In the end, even they had to be impressed with how this masterpiece came out. Powerful. Disturbing. Grimy and Beautiful!
Not really fish nor fowl. None of Pabst's usual psychological exploration or Brecht's Epic Theater staging and virtually all of Weill's songs are missing. Not my favorite Pabst film by a long shot although I think much of the political criticism of the picture is unfounded. This is a very caustic, cynical, left leaning film with only the thinnest veneer of bourgeois romantic trappings.