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Film / Wunschkonzert

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Wunschkonzert ("Request Concert") is a 1940 film from Nazi Germany, directed by Eduard von Borsody.

Inge and Herbert meet for the first time at the opening ceremony for the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. After a whirlwind three-day romance they are already making plans to marry. However, Herbert is a Luftwaffe pilot, and with no notice he is sent off to be part of the Condor Legion of German "volunteers" fighting in the Spanish Civil War. And to keep the mission a secret, Herbert and the other German pilots are forbidden to tell anyone where they are going or to write any letters for six months.

As a result, Inge and Herbert lose touch. Three years pass, and World War II begins. Neither Inge or Herbert forget about the other, though, and when Inge hears Herbert's song dedication over the "Wunschkonzert" radio program, she seeks him out again.

All of this is basically an excuse for Nazi wartime propaganda themes that emphasize the dutiful loyalty of German women at home, while heroic German men serve in the Wehrmacht.


  • The Cameo: The performers in the concert sequence near the end of the film were all big stars of German cinema, appearing as themselves. Marika Rökk, who was a huge star, sings "In einer Nacht im Mai". Paul Hörbiger, who sings another song, later played the porter who tells Joseph Cotten "There was a third man" in The Third Man.
  • Dead Man Honking: But not with a car. Two German soldiers are holed up in a church, in a combat zone, apparently France or Belgium. They know that the rest of The Squad is out there, but the squad is lost in the fog, and there is a minefield. It so happens that one of the two men in the church is a musician, and he plays the church organ in order to signal the rest of the squad where to go. It works, but right at the end of the piece the organist holds the last note and keeps holding it. His buddy comes over and finds that the organist has been killed by Allied artillery and has flopped over onto the keyboard.
  • Disturbed Doves: Olympic doves, as a flock of the birds of peace are released at the 1936 Olympic opening ceremonies.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Herbert and Inge are engaged after having known each other only three days.
  • Got Volunteered: The Nazis claimed that the Condor Legion was made up of volunteers, so that they could maintain a mask of neutrality in the Spanish Civil War. But as this film is surprisingly candid about, all the Condor Legion pilots were actually assigned.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A German soldier hiding in a church plays the church organ as a signal to lead the rest of his squad out of a minefield, despite knowing full well that making the noise will attract enemy artillery. Sure enough, he is killed.
  • High-Class Glass: Even the Nazis recognized how iconic this look was, as the starchy colonel assigning Herbert to duty in Spain wears one of these.
  • Ironic Echo: Herbert is dismissive of Inge's objections about her aunt, saying "And your aunt can't lock me up." Cut to Inge saying "You can't lock me up!" after her aunt attempts to prevent her from seeing Herbert.
  • Just Friends: Helmut, the young man from Inge's village, is sweet on her. He tries to as her out but Inge is firm that they are only friends.
  • Meet Cute: Herbert and Inge wind up going to the Olympic opening ceremonies together, after Herbert is left with an extra ticket (his captain couldn't make it), and Inge is stuck waiting outside the gate (her aunt left the tickets at home). Within a couple of days they're in love.
  • The Movie: The Wunschkonzert für die Wehrmacht ("Request Concert for the Wehrmacht") was a weekly German music show that aired on the radio every Sunday afternoon. Supposedly soldiers at the front could write in and request music. Joseph Goebbels, who started the radio show in the first place, ordered a movie made around the radio show after the show proved very popular.
  • The Neidermeyer: The CO of the unit on the Polish front, who gets mad and yells when his men scavenge Polish pigs, and gets mad and yells when they goof off and listen to the radio. But because this is a Nazi propaganda film and it wouldn't do to portray a German officer as actually evil or anything, he agrees when two of his men suggest taking the pigs back to Berlin and making a donation to the Request Concert (and thus the war effort).
  • Nose Art: A montage shows various members of the German armed forces listening to the Request Concert. One shot shows someone painting a picture of a cat as Nose Art on a fighter plane. Camera pan over to another Luftwaffe man, with the cat sitting on his shoulder.
  • Patriotic Fervor: The real point of the movie. Nazi soldiers are pleasant, friendly Aryan types who go off to war with a song in their hearts. German women keep the home fires burning and stay faithful to their men, even for years as with Inge. Everyone is very patriotic and brave and Germany is triumphant and getting ready to kick British butt, and that's the Happy Ending. Inge and Herbert's love story is basically an afterthought.
  • Stock Footage: Stock clips of the German armed forces in combat. Stock clips of the 1936 Olympics, including Hitler's arrival at the Games. Some of this footage was taken from Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia.
  • Stuka Scream: The Trope Maker, as the Stukas with their distinctive whistle are shown bombing Poland in footage that marks the Time Skip. Unsurprisingly, the terrified Polish civilians that the Germans were killing aren't shown.
  • Those Two Guys: German soldiers never did anything like massacre Jews or shoot innocent civilians or burn down farmhouses, oh no; they were all wholesome salt-of-the-earth types like Kramer and Hammer, the two goofballs who get in trouble with their captain for scavenging wild pigs. Kramer and Hammer compose a truly awful song to sing during the Request Concert, but when they forget the lyrics, they are ushered offstage immediately.
  • Time Skip: A three-year skip comes between the opening third of the movie set in 1936, and the last two-thirds set after the start of World War II.
  • Title Drop: Many references to the Wunschkonzert, starting with when Herbert's flight crew has rigged up a homemade radio so they can listen.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: One of the more bizarre elements of this propaganda film. A whole bunch of the men from Inge's town get on the train to go off to the front, and the women of the town see them off at the station. The weird thing is the mood, which is cheerful and festive, as if the men are going off to a bachelor party instead of off to war where they might be killed (and one of them, the musician, is).