Revisiting the Classics: Three Good Friends (Die Drei von der Tankstelle)

  • Thursday, May 30, 2024 / 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM (PDT)
  • Pollock Theater
  • Screening Format: 2K digital projection (94 minutes, German with English subtitles)
  • With Jan-Christopher Horak and Andréas-Benjamin Seyfert (co-editors of Enchanted by Cinema: Wilhelm Thiele Between Vienna, Berlin, and Hollywood)
  • Director: Wilhelm Thiele
    Starring: Lilian Harvey, Willy Fritsch, Heinz Rühmann, and Oskar Karlweis

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 Cinema: Wilhelm Thiele Between Vienna, Berlin, and Hollywood (Berghahn Books), which will be published in May 2024. To receive a 50% discount on the print edition of Enchanted by Cinema, order by June 30 using this link and code HORA5362.

This event is free but a reservation is recommended in order to guarantee a seat.


Chris Horak headshot

Jan-Christopher Horak (former director, UCLA Film & Television Archive)

Jan-Christopher Horak is the former director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. He was previously Director of Archives & Collections at Universal Studios, Director of the Munich Filmmuseum, and Senior Curator at the George Eastman House. He has taught at UCLA, Chapman University, University of Rochester, and Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen, Munich. He received his PhD from the Universität Münster. His book publications include Hollywood Goes Latin (2019), Cinema Between Latin America and Los Angeles  (2017), L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema (2015), Saul Bass (2014), Lovers of Cinema (1995), Anti-Nazi Filme der deutschsprachigen Filmemigration von Hollywood (1985), Fluchtpunkt Hollywood (1984), and Film und Foto der 20er Jahr (1979). His awards include the SCMS Katherine Kovacs Singer Essay Award (2007), Andor Kraszna-Kraus Film Book Award (2016), SCMS Best Edited Collection Award (2017), Reinhold Schünzel Preis (2018), and Ehrenpreis des Deutschen Kinemathekenverbundes (2021).

45. Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis 2024 - Festivalfunk: Ben Seyfert
Foto: Oliver Dietze

Andréas-Benjamin Seyfert (Germanic and Slavic Studies, UCSB)

Andréas-Benjamin Seyfert is a Lecturer in the Germanic and Slavic Studies department at UCSB. He earned his PhD from UCLA’s Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies. Seyfert also holds a graduate certificate in Digital Humanities and specializes in gender studies. His scholarly works encompass a range of topics, including contributions to the journal Filmblatt, chapters in notable publications such as Goethe als Literatur-Figur (Wallstein Verlag, 2016), Rethinking Jewishness in Weimar Cinema (Berghahn Books, 2020), Achtung! Musik . . . : Zwischen Filmkomödie und Musical (edition text + kritik, 2024), and Modernist Aesthetics in Transition: Visual Culture in the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany (Bloomsbury, 2024).

This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center.

Revisiting the Classics

What happens when a film becomes a “classic”? The Carsey-Wolf Center’s 2023-24 feature series Revisiting the Classics engages creatively and critically with our filmic past, approaching it with fresh eyes and novel interpretive lenses. Not simply a celebration of the “great works,” Revisiting the Classics will consider how classic texts have shaped the work of contemporary filmmakers, how complicated questions of politics and aesthetics emerge through practices of adaptation and interpretation, and how the changing landscape of film distribution, archiving, preservation, and critique affects the formation of canon and the making of new “classics.”

CWC Global

Media are global by nature; they express culture just as much as they transcend borders. The CWC Global series is dedicated to showcasing media from around the world. This series features screenings and events that place UCSB in conversation with international media makers and global contexts across our deeply connected world.