7.8/10
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The Piano Player (1999)

Gloomy Sunday - Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod (original title)
Not Rated | | Romance, Drama | 21 October 1999 (Germany)
Follows three men who are in love with a most beautiful waitress: An intellectual restaurant owner, a mysterious musician and an erratic businessman; taking place during the WWII.

Director:

Rolf Schübel

Writers:

Ruth Toma (screenplay), Rolf Schübel (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Erika Marozsán ... Ilona
Joachim Król ... László
Ben Becker ... Hans Wieck
Stefano Dionisi ... András
András Bálint András Bálint ... Ilonas Sohn
Géza Boros Géza Boros ... Geigenspieler
Rolf Becker ... Herr Wieck
Ilse Zielstorff Ilse Zielstorff ... Frau Wieck
Ferenc Bács Ferenc Bács ... Botschafter
Júlia Zsolnai Júlia Zsolnai ... Frau des Botschafters
Áron Sipos Áron Sipos ... Arzt (as Aron Sipos)
Ernst Kahl Ernst Kahl ... Zeichner Torresz
Jörg Gillner Jörg Gillner ... Chefkoch István
Denis Moschitto ... Lehrling Inas
István Mikó István Mikó ... Kartoffelhändler
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Storyline

Budapest in the thirties. The restaurant owner Laszlo hires the pianist András to play in his restaurant. Both men fall in love with the beautiful waitress Ilona who inspires András to his only composition. His song of Gloomy Sunday is, at first, loved and then feared, for its melancholic melody triggers off a chain of suicides. The fragile balance of the erotic ménage à trois is sent off kilter when the German Hans goes and falls in love with Ilona as well. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Romance | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | Hungary

Language:

German | English | Hungarian

Release Date:

21 October 1999 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Piano Player See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,102, 22 June 2003

Gross USA:

$585,604

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$646,532
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (archive footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Nazi called Wieck, played by Ben Becker, is a fictionalized SS Col. Kurt Becher, the who was acquitted in Nuremberg of war crimes and who ended up the richest man in Germany. See more »

Goofs

Beginning at 1:22:06, we can clearly see the set lights over top of the transom that separates the restaurant's vestibule from its main dining room. See more »

Quotes

László: Everyone would like it all: something for the body, something for the soul. Something that fills you up, something that makes you hungry.
See more »

Soundtracks

Polonaise in A Major, Op. 40 No. 1
Composed by Frédéric Chopin
[Played at her birthday]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shoot the piano player!
31 May 2004 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Rolf Schubel, the director, has created a movie around a menage a trois that was very civilized. Ilona loves Joachim, but she also loves Andras, the piano player. Andras, is the composer of the suicide provoking song that was the rage of the 30s in Budapest, as well as in the rest of Europe.

The setting is a somehow fancy restaurant in Budapest at the onset of World War II. Laszlo, the owner, is having an affair with Ilona, his assistant, who also works at the restaurant. Enter Andras: Ilona is instantly smitten by his good looks, his obvious youth, in contrast with Joachim, who is much older but might not be exactly what she wants to find between her sheets. Joachim goes along with the very civilized arrangement among them. One night is spent with Andras and the next one with Laszlo, who after all, is the one with the money and paying the bill!

Of course, the story is too good to be true. There is Hans, the young German who adores the fine cuisine offered at the restaurant and is taken with Ilona's beauty. Hans will return as a Nazi officer and he'll be the force that destroys the happiness of this trio and who, at the end, has to pay for the horrible things he did in his youth. This part was very predictable, since one knows after seeing so many stories like this, it always ends tragically because of Nazis, even friendly ones, as Hans was, deep down inside hates Joachim because he had what he never could have, Ilona. Therefore, Joachim will have to disappear from the picture.

The film is easy to watch. The melody will stay with the viewer forever, but alas, like a good Hungarian dishes, too much paprika will spoil the goulash.


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