(The Glamorous World of the Adlon Hotel)
USA / Germany 1996
Dir: Percy Adlon
74 min., Video, Color
Produktion: Pelemele FILM/LEORA FILMS Production (über Futura/Filmverlag) mit BR Fernsehen, Benigna von Keyserlingk, SFB, ORF und ARTE. Buch: Percy Adlon. Kamera: Judy Irola, ASC. Ausstattung: Anina Diener, Nanci Roberts. Kostüme: Maria Schicker. Musik: Salon Orchester Berlin, Tailed Comedians, Madeleine Lienhard. Schnitt: Ila von Hasperg. Herstellungsleitung: Jamie Beardsley. Produzent: Eleonore Adlon. Ausführende Produzentin, Redaktion: Benigna von Keyserlingk.
Darsteller: Felix Adlon (Louis Adlon jr.), Eva Mattes (Pola Negri).
Uraufführung: 1. Januar 1997, Arte.
Weltvertrieb: Futura Film Weltvertrieb im Filmverlag GmbH, Rambergstr. 5, D-80799 München, Tel. (49-89) 381 70030, Fax: (49-89) 381 70020.
Fri 21.02. 17:30 Arsenal
When he arrives in Berlin the hotel has burned down. Russian soldiers have put fire to it in the first few days after the war ended. Louis is deeply shocked. When he recovers his composure, his childhood memories assail him. He settles in the staff's quarters in a part of the building which has withstood the fire and begins to write...
Afternoon tea and dancing, a love affair, an oyster dinner, family stories, divorce, debts, scandal. Very vivid memories, some of them less so, captured only on photographs, in silent film footage, in stories by an old waiter, a telephone operator: guests- Richard Tauber, Josefine Baker, Thomas Mann, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich. He sees his grandfather up close, who has been granted an audience with Wilhelm II, trying to convince the emperor that Berlin needs a world class hotel. The helplessly stumbling patent leather shoes of his father to whom he couldn't say good-bye.
He recalls the delicate colours of hotel rooms with marble columns, polished brass, mahagony, silk, wide-ranging views, frescoed, vaulted ceilings: suspended elegance, vanished.
Shortly after his return to Los Angeles Louis Adlon jr. died of a broken heart. He was thirty-nine years old. He is buried in the Hollywood Cemetery amongst his friends from the film world.
In Spring 1997 the newly built hotel Adlon will be opened in Berlin at the Pariser Platz near the Brandenburg Gate. It is situated on the same spot where my great-grandfather's and grandfather's world famous hotel stood. Doubtlessly, the opening will be an international media event.
My longstanding television producer Benigna von Keyserlingk (Bavarian Television) who commissioned my first feature film Célèste and some of my other films, suggested a project dealing with the Hotel Adlon, in other words, a film about my own family. During her programming staff meeting Benigna was asked whether I wouldn't be too close to the topic. I also asked her the same question over and over again. But she insisted, she wanted this project.
I chose a combination feature/documentary film, with my son Felix playing the -silent- main role, i.e. his great-uncle Louis Adlon jr. This helped to create an element of authenticity which is so important for all my films. Now that I have everything on film I think it was the right decision.
I mostly chose former hotel employees as eye witnesses because as a child Louis had contacts with them rather than with guests. Anyhow, I wanted to present famous guests in their former glory, just how we remember them.
There is a lot of music in the film. Music was always important for the Adlon Hotel. Popular orchestras and soloists were continually performing here.
A very special aspect of the film are statements by Louis' twin brother Carl Adlon, now 88 years old and living in the USA.
A hotel story? That, too. A human tragedy? Yes. History? Yes. If there is a television documentary with cinematic qualities, then Percy Adlon has created it. (...)
The Adlon film is as elegant as the former hotel Adlon. Glimpses of this world, of the world of appearances whizz by nimbly and unobtrusively, photos, silent film material, the stories told by guests and employees fit in well with scenes from hotel history and Adlon's biography. Brilliant, perhaps too brilliant is the 'glamorous world of hotel Adlon'. (...)
(Joachim Huber, in: Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin, January 2nd, 1997)
Percy Adlon was born June 1st, 1935 in Munich. He studied art history, German and theatre studies. After graduating with a degree in acting he worked as an actor for three years. In 1961 Percy Adlon joined the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broacasting), doing literary magazines. From 1970 he made his first documentaries for Bavarian Television. His first big success was the television portrait Tomi Ungerers Landleben.
1970-1984: 150 documentaries for German television. 1978: Der Vormund und sein Dichter (TV). 1979: Herr Kischott (TV). 1981: Célèste (first feature film). 1982: Fünf letzte Tage. 1983: Die Schaukel. 1984: Zuckerbaby. 1985: Herschel und die Musik der Sterne (TV). 1987: Out of Rosenheim/Bagdad Cafe. 1989: Rosalie goes shopping. 1991: Salmonberries. 1993: Younger & younger. 1996: The Glamorous World of the Adlon Hotel.
© 1997 by International Forum of New Cinema. All rights reserved.