Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mack the Knife

I saw G W Pabst's 1931 film version of The Threepenny Opera recently. It is a great classic, absolutely essential-watch in my opinion. More on it later.

I was looking for some clips on youtube but found Louis Armstrong's version of the ballad of Mack the Knife. It is fantastic.



Mack the Knife song as featured in the film here. Also, Lotte Lenja singing her "Pirate Jenny" song from the film here. I was wondering about the mention of Lotte Lenja's name. I found this in wikipedia: "Weill's widow, Lotte Lenya, the star of both the original 1928 German production and the 1954 Blitzstein Broadway version, was present in the studio during Armstrong's recording. He spontaneously added her name to the lyrics, which already named several of Macheath's female victims."

6 comments:

Falstaff said...

ah, but the real classic is Ella Fitzgerald singing Mack the Knife, complete with her flawless imitation of Armstrong, and her hilarious murdering of the lyrics.

KUBLA KHAN said...

Hi
have posted a pic of my favourite book cover of this year, have a look there......how about you?

Puccinio said...

The classic version in English that is, is Bobby Darrin's version.

But I enjoy listening to the original in German as well(though i speak no word of it) either from Lotte Lenya or Ute Lemper(a modern German pop singer who's covered classic tracks) and I love Ernst Busch's rendition in the Pabst film, complete with those pictures of Mackie Messer's ghastly crimes(which of course are only alleged, because Mackie stays out of sight).

Woody Allen used a version as well in his tribute to Golden Age German Cinema, ''Shadow and Fog''. I don't know who sang it but it's quite good.

Alok said...

falstaff: Yeah, saw a couple of her live performances on youtube too. Quite funny... I hadn't come across either of these before.

kubla: have put it now. How about a top 10 list of favourite books of year?

puccinio: I have seen Shadow and Fog but I think I missed the song. Probably because I didn't know about it then. I love the way it is shot in the film with Ernst Busch illustrating every crime. Really very witty.

The criterion dvd has the french version of the film too but it doesn't work as well as it does in German. It loses that sharpness and the edgy quality, that is there in the German version.

Anonymous said...

Part of the reason why the French version was so weakw as no doubt because of the actors. Pabst got as many from the original theatre production as possible like Ernst Busch, Lotte Lenya and Carola Neher. So you have that level of knowledge in their performances. It's too bad that there's no video recording available of the original production like there is for theatre nowadays.

More later when you put the film as a topic.

puccinio said...

By the way the previous post marked anonymous was from ''puccinio'', I forgot to sign it by mistake