Part of a German series looking back at music in the history of German film, Tonfilm-Revue has a decidedly chilling effect, thanks to the period it covers -- 1937 through 1945 (this is not strictly true; material from 1948 and 1950 is included as well). Each of the tracks is devoted to a different film, with various songs and cues edited together. What it reveals, in part, is that German film of the period was used as a morale booster as much as American or British film ever was, though with even more of an anti-realistic attitude. The contrast with the chipper music heard on much of this disc and the realities of the war raging around the world after 1940 is truly disconcerting. It isn't that this is propaganda material as such (though some of it would serve in that capacity), but that anyone could get through the sheer effort of producing it at all; even more so, considering the perennial shortages of almost everything, and the restrictions under which studios such as UFA lived. Certainly a document well out of left field (and well-annotated, though in German) but having a historical validity that should not be overlooked. Not only are there lessons implicit here, but there is some good music to be found as well. Koch engineers have done a fairly good job of restoring what they can, but it seems that some elements have seen brutal times. Which comes as no surprise.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Steven McDonald