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Mädchen in Uniform (Girls in Uniform)

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

German screen legend Romy Schneider stars as spirited teenage orphan, Manuela who arrives at a strict all-girl boarding school where she falls in love with her teacher, Fraeulein von Bernburg (played by the beautiful young Lilli Palmer) much to the dismay of the school s authoritarian headmistress.

This 1958 remake of the historic 1931 film improves upon the original considerably offering up a wonderful, poignant and extremely rare 1950s portrayal of youthful lesbian longing and truly forbidden love (while Manuela is head over heels infatuated with her teacher, the teacher is affectionate but entirely restrained). The film is gorgeously shot and features a remarkable production design a late- 50s palette of blues and grays provides the atmospheric backdrop for this tale of suppressed passion.

Never before released on video and rarely seen since its initial delayed 1965 US theatrical release Mädchen in Uniform is based upon the original 1930 play by German lesbian writer Christa Winsloe.



A must-see flick... one of the earliest films to deal with same-sex love. Seattle Gay News

The luminous presence of Lilli Palmer and Romy Schneider and the openness and emotion of their performances give this film great impact. --Wolfe

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Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Romy Schneider, Lilli Palmer, Therese Giehse
  • Directors: Geza von Radvanyi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: WOLFE VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003UO4JKA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,117 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By J. Olson on July 19, 2010
Full disclosure: I work for Wolfe Video and have worked very hard on facilitating the US DVD release of this film.

As a film historian, I often say I'm more excited by rediscovering older LGBT films than I am by contemporary gay filmmaking. This is an exaggeration -- but there really is a unique thrill in seeing this kind of evidence of our existence, from so long ago, so clearly visible as a theme in a mainstream film. All of the little elements of lesbian desire in Mädchen are just amazing. Again and again we see references to the girls affections for their teacher (and for each other).

This film is a remake of the original 1931 film of the same name-- which is considered to be the first lesbian film ever made. It's based on a novel and play by the lesbian writer Christa Winsloe. This 1958 version is one of the only lesbian themed films of the `50s. And is brought to life by three remarkable actresses: Lilli Palmer plays the beloved teacher, Frau von Bernburg. She was a well-known international star and Mädchen was a very bold choice at this time in her career. The role of Manuela was an even bolder move for then child-star Romy Schneider who was best known for her portrayal of Sissi in the hit German series of films of the `50s. Mädchen marked a turning point of more mature performances for her and she would go on to become a major European star. German-Jewish stage star Therese Giehse plays the strict headmistress. She was best known as a member of Bertolt Brecht's theater company and the star of his famous play, Mother Courage and Her Children. Giehse fled Nazi Germany in the `30s and lived in exile with her lover Erika Mann in Switzerland during the War.

The film is gorgeously shot and features an austere production design. And even in its melodramatic moments it never descends into camp. It holds up as a serious drama with a 100% lesbian hero. I hope you agree and find it as moving as I do.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Astrid on July 26, 2011
Germany around 1910. After her mother's death the young girl Manuela von Meinhardis (Romy Schneider) has to enter a boarding school for aristocratic women, whose headmistress believes in strict Prussian education. Manuela - and some of the other students - adores the rather young and (for this time) unconventional governess Fräulein von Bernburg (Lilli Palmer), who tries to see the students as individuals. This believe goes straight against the education represented in this boarding school and sure enough soon there are big arguments between Fräulein von Bernburg and the headmistress.

Manuela admits her love to Fräulein von Bernburg after a theatre performance and under the influence of way too much alcohol. This leads to a big scandal which forces Manuela into isolation, followed from the feeling of being abandoned from her teacher. This finally results into a suicide attempt. Her classmates are able to save her just in time and the headmistress begins to understand that her lack of comprehension and her cruelty nearly resulted in the death of one of her students. Fräulein von Bernburg is asked to stay in the school, but she denies in favour of Manuela, feeling that Manuela needs to find her own way in life and that she would be a handicap for the young woman.

The book on which the movie is based ends entirely different: Manuela succeeds in her suicide attempt. Author Christa Winsloe (who had to leave Germany in 1933) wanted to show the destruction of Manuela. However, the film adaptation with Romy Schneider is brilliant and was a scandal in 1958, showing only one kiss between teacher and student, but one too much. And what a kiss... remember we are talking about Germany around 1910.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dawn M. Johnson on December 29, 2010
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Who knew? The film Madchen in Uniform wasn't bad. The quality of the cinematography was well done. Typical to the time made the color was good quality. The story line definitely depicts the true essence of the societal norms of the time frame. Of course the acting is typical for the time filmed (a bit over dramatic), but still done well for its time. The story line covered society's point of view at the time, so dismiss this due to its discriminatory nature is a loss to those who choose to do so. This film depicts some parts of the struggle that the LGBT population has had to contend with in the past. I'm pleased that our history was depicted in film be it positive or negative. It tells a few aspects of the story. I say Bravo to those who were courageous enough to participate in its making. I'm glad Wolfe video brought it to light and offers it to the public. One added bonus was I was relearning the German I was taught and spoke in my childhood. I thought I lost it, but I was able to follow the film that includes subtitles. I would recommend this film to anyone to see the historical significance of the LGBT struggle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on July 7, 2014
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After having "Madchen in Uniform" inexplicably appear in my streaming recommendations, I finally decided to give it a try. I enjoy foreign films, but a German film from the '50s did not seem appealing to me. I was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. Though melodramatic in some places, for the most part it was well acted and directed. The characters develop wonderfully. After viewing the film, for some reason I could not get it out of my head and wound up watching it a couple of more times. This is where all of the subtle nuances came apparent. I believe this might have something to do with focusing on the subtitles more than the actors the first time around.

This is my analysis on the film, however inaccurate it might be:
Romy Schneider is wonderful as the quiet and timid Manuela who feels alone in the world, but seems to blossom in the love she develops for her teacher, Frau von Bernburg. Lilli Palmer is fantastic in her role as Elisabeth von Bernburg, and probably the most complicated character in the film. On first glance, she comes across as a strict but sympathetic teacher who cares for all of her students and tries to stymie her pupil's unwanted advances. At face value one can surmise that this relationship is one-way attraction. However, at times her feelings seem ambiguous. But if watched carefully, there are movements and gestures that Ms. Palmer executes so subtly that shows that her feelings for Manuela are deeper than they seem. Frau von Bernburg seems to be very conflicted with her feelings and emotions. And for good reason: a teacher attracted to a student, (who is 14, mind you); a teacher attracted to her student of the same sex; and this is the turn of the century Prussia.
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