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Der Kongreß tanzt

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Der Kongress tanzt
(English: Congress Dances)
Der Kongress tanzt (poster).jpg
Der Kongress tanzt (poster)
Directed byErik Charell
Written byNorbert Falk
Robert Liebmann
Produced byErich Pommer for Ufa
StarringLilian Harvey
Willy Fritsch
Edited byViktor Gertler
Music byWerner Richard Heymann
Distributed byUniversum Film AG (UFA)
Release dates
  • 29 September 1931 (1931-09-29) (Austria)
  • 20 October 1931 (1931-10-20) (Germany)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryWeimar Republic

Der Kongress tanzt (English: The Congress Dances) is a German musical comedy film produced in 1931 by Ufa, directed by Erik Charell, starring Lilian Harvey as Christel Weinzinger, the glove seller, Willy Fritsch as Tsar Alexander I of Russia and his doppelgänger, Uralsky, Otto Wallburg as Bibikoff, his Adjutant, Conrad Veidt as Prince Metternich, Carl-Heinz Schroth as his Secretary, Pepi, Lil Dagover as the Countess and Alfred Abel as the King of Saxony.

Der Kongress tanzt is a particularly well achieved move in Ufa's attempt to challenge US supremacy in the European film arena, taking advantage of the introduction of sound. As such, the studio released the movie in three different language versions (MLV): in German, in French as Le congrès s'amuse, and English as Congress Dances. Lilian Harvey played in all three versions, as she spoke all languages; Henri Garat replaced Willy Fritsch for the French and English versions.

Ufa spared no efforts: the cast reads like a who's who of German film, from the top billers of the day to heavy-weight comedians - even the supporting cast is made out of stars. The sets were lavish and top talent made up the entire technical cast.

Despite the ambition and the auspicious beginning, Ufa's challenge to US supremacy never materialized, both due to the strength of the Hollywood majors and to the constraints Germany's creative film and performers would suffer from 1933 onwards.

"This truffle of cinema unfolds its flavours like a heavenly feast for the anonymous millions it is dedicated to." Lichtbild-Bühne.


Der Kongress tanzt takes place during the Congress of Vienna, that took place in 1814/1815 after the Napoleonic Wars, a meeting between the powers that was to set the frontiers of the world.

Russia's Tsar Alexander is traveling incognito among the people in the tradition of his ancestor Peter the Great, coming across a witty and charming Viennese glove seller, the young Christel Weinzinger. She announces her business by throwing flowers with a visiting card into each carriage that drives past. As the story unfolds, Christel is accused of an assassination attempt and finally condemned. The punishment is however waived and Christel is again free.

The Tsar, having fallen in love with Christel, uses the visiting card, in order to visit her in her business. A romance develops, with Prince Metternich and his army of spies intending to use the situation to further his own agenda. This however clashes with Pepi, his secretary, who is also in love with Christel. Christel tells her friends about the romance, which is naturally not believed. Only as the Tsar arrives with a splendid carriage to fetch her, does astonishment set in.

The romance is terminated when Napoléon Bonaparte escapes from the island of Elba and marches upon Paris. The Tsar, as all other rulers, has to leave. Christel stays behind, miserable, but finds solace with Pepi.


German version
English version
French version


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Der Kongreß tanzt
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