Vanessa Redgrave And Jane Alexander Star In The Remarkable “Playing For Time”

August 2, 2017 — Fania Fenelon was a famous cabaret performer and chanteuse in Paris before World War II. However, her half-Jewish background added to the fact that she had aided the partisans, was enough to ensure her a place on one of the cattle cars heading to Auschwitz.

There she endured unbelievable deprivations and hardships until it was discovered that she could be of use to the Nazi guards. She, and a number of other Jewish musicians, are enlisted to entertain their captors. This they do, for years, but the situation is fraught with difficulties.

Their beautiful music came at a price. They would play music as the prisoners were marched to their death. They entertained the captors who tortured them, denied them food, beat them.

And yet, their treatment was undoubtedly better than that of the other prisoners, most of whom would die in the gas chambers. Survivors’ guilt would affect them all. Their knowledge that they were treated differently, even better, than the rest of the prisoners, would affect them forever.

The film has a stellar cast — Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Alexander, Christine Baranski, Marisa Berenson, Shirley Knight, Verna Bloom, Melanie Mayron. Daniel Mann directed from a screenplay by Arthur Miller and Fania Fenelon. The film won 4 Emmy Awards and 1 Peabody Award.

Watch Playing for Time on Amazon Video or buy the Blu-ray or DVD.
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