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After making a name for himself as a director of light comedies in the silent era, Wilhelm Thiele established himself as a pioneer of the musical comedy after the coming of sound with the 1930 film Three Good Friends (Die Drei von der Tankstelle). The film went on to become one of the most commercially successful German classic films. Set during Germany’s Great Depression, the film revolves around three close friends—Hans (Heinz Rühmann), Willy (Willy Fritsch), and Kurt (Oskar Karlweis)—who face a test to their friendship when they all fall for the enchanting Lilian (Lilian Harvey). One of the most accomplished directors of Late Weimar cinema, Thiele was vilified during the onset of the Nazi regime in 1933 because of his status as an Austrian Jew. He fled to the United States where he continued making films until the end of his career in 1960.

The Carsey-Wolf Center is pleased to present a 2K DCP restoration of Die Drei von der Tankstelle, which is rarely seen in the United States. A post-screening discussion will follow featuring Jan-Christopher Horak (former director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive) and Andréas-Benjamin Seyfert (Germanic & Slavic Studies, UCSB). Horak and Seyfert are co-editors of the volume Enchanted by CinemaWilhelm Thiele Between Vienna, Berlin, and Hollywood (Berghahn Books), which will be published in May 2024.

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