Third exhibition, April 2004 - July 2011

Integration of travelling exhibitions into the area of the permanent exhibition

Museums are made for their guests. Often, exhibition organisers have to come up with new ideas as, from time to time, unexpected circumstances occur. The family exhibition "Fairyland Babelsberg" is still being well received. Due to these good responses, the semi-permanent exhibition will not be removed in April 2006 (as initially planned) but will be extended until 2007. As the museum does not have more than two exhibition areas with 450 square metres each, exhibition space is needed for the travelling exhibitions of 2006 that have already been prepared for a long time: a vital museum has to consistently develop new offers for its guests.

This new exhibition area is created by a restructuring of the permanent exhibition: both installations (illustrating the prohibited films of 1965/66 and the end of DEFA) will be removed, same as the two children's areas (on "1, 2, 3 - Corona" and on film trick design). The children's areas will be taken over by the museum's cooperation partner Filmpark Babelsberg for the 2006 season.
The four media tables (with two monitors each, one showing excerpts from the exhibition's films, the other providing access to the computer-based information system) will be integrated into the "wall of contemporary history". This way, both the permanent exhibition's core and the offer of information will remain almost complete.

The room will be divided by lengthwise installed translucent partitions. At the beginning of May 2006, guests may visit two exhibitions on the ground floor.Travelling exhibition.

former Exhibition tour

1912 - 1945: Bioscop - Decla-Bioscop - Ufa
1946 - 1953: DEFA
1954 - 1966: DEFA
1967 - 1976: DEFA
1977 - 1994: DEFA
1994 - today: Studio Babelsberg

1912 - 1945: Bioscop - Decla-Bioscop - Ufa

Postcard "Siegfried" for the film "Die Nibelungen" (1924)

Blick in die Ständige Ausstellung - Ufa-Vitrine
Blick in die Ständige Ausstellung - Ufa-Vitrine
Blick in die Ständige Ausstellung - Ufa-Vitrine

Filmmakers have been using Babelsberg, a former factory site, since 1912. Bioscop, a small Berlin-based film company, purchases the vast area in 1911. After the company has set up a glass studio next to the old factory building, the first film is shot in 1912:Der Totentanz("The Dance of the Dead", DIR: Urban Gad). Leading actress is the first great European film starAsta Nielsen. With her subtle performance, Nielsen helps to establish the young medium film as a serious art form. InErdgeist("Earth Spirit", 1923, DIR: Leopold Jessner), the Danish actress appears seductively wrapped a fringed shawl. The shawl, now on display in the exhibition, was also used by Nielsen for decorative purposes - as tablecloth in her Berlin apartment.

During the First World War, Babelsberg filmmaking almost comes to a standstill. While the first devastating gas attacks are launched on the Western front, Paul Wegener’s filmDer Golem("The Golem", 1915) achieves nominal artistic success. Paul Wegener’s films are pioneering works, helping the young studio to establish a good reputation; Wegener himself becomes particularly famous for his handling of fantasy material. In the 1930s, Wegener quits directing. Instead, he exclusively turns to acting.

In the early 1920s, financial difficulties force Bioscop to merge, first with Decla (Deutsche Eclair) into Decla-Bioscop and, only a few years later, with Ufa (Universum Film AG) that was founded in 1917. The merger adds to Babelsberg's stock of resources and artists who soon bring worldwide fame to the studio. The technical and artistic innovations it employs have the world spellbound - a shining example of a Babelsberg innovation of great significance is the "moving camera". Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s filmDer letzte Mann("The Last Laugh", 1924) sees the camera "liberated" from its fixed attachment to the tripod, enabling it to be moved in a variety of ways: on a bicycle, in a basket sliding downward or strapped to the chest of ingenious cameramanKarl Freund. The inventiveness is dazzling - even Hollywood sends its best cinematographers to Babelsberg for further training.
One of the oldest exhibits comes from a Murnau film: the Egyptian wig worn by actor Martin Wolfgang in the (lost) filmSatanas(1920).

Ufa is almost ruined by mismanagement. Production times of up to two years for a single film and an ever-growing trend towards escapism reach a peak in Fritz Lang's science fiction filmMetropolis(1927). Consequently, Ufa has to sign an adhesion contract with a number of US companies. Alfred Hugenberg, owner of a right-wing press conglomerate, buys Ufa out of the contract with the Americans in 1927. From this point onwards, Ufa increasingly produces reactionary films and mass entertainment.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Ufa mainly succeeds with its entertainment films. Stars likeHans Albers, Lilian Harvey, Willy Fritsch, Heinrich GeorgeorMarika Rökkleave their mark on Ufa films. The comedyDie Feuerzangenbowle(1944, DIR: Helmut Weiss) becomes a great success, featuring Ufa star Heinz Rühmann as student "Pfeiffer with three 'F'". The film still enjoys cult status in Germany. One of the school desks used in the film has been preserved. The only costume remaining from leading actress Zara Leander's Ufa engagement is also displayed in the exhibition. She wore it inDas Herz der Königin("The Heart of a Queen", 1949; DIR: Carl Fröhlich).

Already during the 1920s, patriotic historical films on Prussian King Frederic the Great are popular. In fourteen of these films, actorOtto Gebührplays the main role. The wig he wore inFridericus Rex(1922/24, DIR: Arzen von Czèrepy) is on display.

After Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, the production of propaganda films increases greatly: Ufa filmmakers shoot anti-Semitic films likeJud Süß("Jew Süß", 1940, DIR: Veit Harlan), war films likeStukas(1941, DIR: Karl Ritter), or, towards the end of the war, never-surrender films likeKolberg(1945, DIR: Veit Harlan), urging the Germans to "stand firm".
For the shooting of the extensive military scenes shown in "Kolberg", Propaganda Minister Goebbels even diverts real troops from the front - their generals protest in vain.

The accordion of actorCarl Raddatzis a prop from one of the last Ufa films,Unter den Brücken("Under the Bridges", 1945/1950, DIR: Helmut Käutner). The film is shot on the river Havel, close to Potsdam, while the Soviet Army is already closing in on Berlin. The apolitical, charming love story still passes censorship in 1945 but is not released until 1950. In this film, a tiny role is cast withHildegard Knef, who will play the leading part in the first German post-war filmDie Mörder sind unter uns("Murderers Among Us", 1946; DIR: Wolfgang Staudte).

To Exhibition tour

1946 - 1953: DEFA

Film still from "Frauenschicksale" (1952)

Szenenfoto aus "Freies Land" (1946)
Werkfoto aus "Figaros Hochzeit" (1949)
Werkfoto aus "Das Beil von Wandsbek" (1950/51)

- Die Mörder sind unter uns - Freies Land - Ehe im Schatten - Wozzeck - Die Buntkarierten - Figaros Hochzeit - Die blauen Schwerter - Der Kahn der fröhlichen Leute - Das Beil von Wandsbek - Frauenschicksale -

In April 1945, the Soviet Army occupies the Babelsberg studios. Film production is abandoned. No German film company will produce in Babelsberg until one year later: By order of the Soviet military administration, communist German filmmakers found DEFA (Deutsche Film AG) on 17 May, 1946. Its ideological orientation is anti-fascist. On 15 October, 1946, the first DEFA film - which is also the first post-war German film - is released:Die Mörder sind unter uns("Murderers Among Us") by directorWolfgang Staudte.

One of the most successful early DEFA films isEhe im Schatten("Marriage in the Shadows", 1947, DIR: Kurt Maetzig). The film is released in all four occupation zones (which is rather unusual in the post-war period) and seen by millions, also attracting international attention. From the very beginning, anti-fascism becomes one of the most important values DEFA films try to pass on.