A year of the stars
Richard Widmark, Jean Marais, Curd Jürgens, Vittorio de Sica, Yvonne de Carlo, the young Sophia Loren, and above all Gina Lollobrigida – the audience couldn’t get enough of them. The image of the festival was dominated by crowded in front of the Berlinale hotels and venues. The audience’s yearning for the stars and its cavalier way of expressing its enthusiasm becomes a trademark of the Berlinale.
Once again the Bears are awarded by the audience. This time “actor’s films” are a big hit. Again several films go unnoticed, that are discovered later by international critics, including Magnificent Obsession by Douglas Sirk and Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru. They don’t seem to fit into the festival hype – but even Rummelplatz der Liebe | Circus of Love, a German-American co-production made by Kurt Neumann, was a failure with the audience and was booed mercilessly by 25,000 spectators at its premiere at the Waldbühne outdoor arena.
The failure of German films again that year was accompanied by debates about the lack of participation of the German film industry in the festival preparations. In hindsight, it appears to have been a political aim of the Senate to keep control over the festival. SPIO (German producer’s association) published a letter of protest, after none of its representatives are asked to join the working committee. While the complaint was conceded, at the same time decision-making power was shifted to a second body, the advisory board, in which the Senate had the ultimate say.
The festival's status remains precarious
The ambition of the political players failed to materialize in the form of stable finances for the festival. On the contrary, during the run-up to the Berlinale, there were once again debates about budget cuts and all kinds of protests and memoranda from Alfred Bauer were necessary to secure a somewhat adequate budget – which iwas finally covered in large by the Federal Government, which approved a short-term subsidy of 100,000 deutschmarks.