Berlin International Film Festival 1951

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The first Berlin International Film Festival took place from June 6th to 18th, 1951.


In 1950, on the initiative of US film officer Oscar Martay, a committee was set up to prepare the first Berlinale. In addition to Martey, the committee consisted of

The committee decided on the name of the festival, which is still valid today. It was also decided that no socialist countries should take part in the festival, so the Berlinale was influenced by the Cold War right from the start . In November 1950, Alfred Bauer was appointed the first director of the Berlinale. Bauer asked Federal President Theodor Heuss to take over the patronage of the festival, which he refused. Heuss referred to the responsibility of the Interior Ministry. Federal Minister of the Interior Robert Lehr became the patron and ensured that the newly created German Film Prize was awarded at the Berlinale. This stayed that way until the Berlinale 1977 , when the festival was moved from summer to February.

The opening of the first Berlinale took place on June 6th in the Titania-Palast in Berlin-Steglitz with a huge crowd . The Berliner Philharmoniker played before the non-competitive opening film Rebecca by Alfred Hitchcock was shown. The first big star to appear at a Berlinale was Hitchcock's leading actress, Joan Fontaine . In addition to the Titania Palace, the Berlin Waldbühne was another venue; there were open-air film screenings in front of 25,000 spectators.

The bears were awarded in 1951 in several categories: "Drama", "Comedy", "Crime or adventure film", "Music film" and "Documentary film". Walt Disney's Cinderella was the big winner because the film not only won a Golden Bear from the jury, but also won the first audience award.


Festival director Alfred Bauer appointed the following feature film jury:

Competition films

The winning films are highlighted in orange.

Movie title Original title Director Country of production Actor (selection)
Beaver Valley James Algar United States documentary
Begone Dull Care Evelyn Lamnbert , Norman McLaren Canada Cartoon
View into paradise Hans Fischerkoesen Germany documentary
Cinderella Clyde Geronimi , Wilfred Jackson , Hamilton Luske United States Cartoon
Dr. Holl Rolf Hansen Germany Maria Schell , Dieter Borsche , Heidemarie Hatheyer
Moon terminus Destination Moon Irving Pichel United States John Archer , Warner Anderson , Tom Powers
L'espoire fait vivre Sweden
Drive into the blue Leva på 'Hoppet' Göran Gentele Sweden Ingrid Thulin , Per Oscarsson , Gunvor Pontén
Het gala concert Netherlands documentary
Secret of a marriage Helmut Weiss Germany Olga Chechowa , Curd Juergens , Paul Klinger
The yellow cathedral Eugen Schuhmacher Germany documentary
God needs people Dieu a besoin des hommes Jean Delannoy France Pierre Fresnay , Madeleine Robinson , Sylvie
Goya Luciano Emmer Italy documentary
Hoffmann's stories The Tales of Hoffmann Michael Powell , Emeric Pressburger Great Britain Moira Shearer , Ludmilla Tchérina , Anne Ayars
Little night ghosts Eugen Schuhmacher Germany documentary
Conflict of heart The Browning Version Anthony Asquith Great Britain Michael Redgrave , Jean Kent , Nigel Patrick
Girl in uniform Muchachas de uniforme Alfredo B. Crevenna Mexico Irasema Dilián , Marga López , Rosaura Revueltas
Il paradiso perduto Luciano Emmer , Enrico Gras Italy documentary
Jury court Justice est faite André Cayatte France Michel Auclair , Antoine Balpêtré , Raymond Bussières
The strange life of Mr. Bruggs Erich Engel Germany Gustav Knuth , Adrian Hoven , Karl Ludwig Diehl
SOS - Two mothers-in-law The mating season Mitchell Leisen United States Gene Tierney , John Lund , Miriam Hopkins
The story of time Robert G. Leffingwell Great Britain documentary
Address unknown … Sans lassier d'address Jean-Paul Le Chanois France Bernard Blier , Danièle Delorme , Juliette Gréco
The Undefeated Paul Dickson Great Britain documentary
The forbidden Christ Il Cristo proibito Curzio Malaparte Italy Raf Vallone , Rina Morelli , Alain Cuny
The four in the jeep Leopold Lindtberg , Elizabeth Montagu Switzerland Ralph Meeker , Viveca Lindfors , Yossi Yadin
Way of hope The cammino della speranza Pietro Germi Italy Raf Vallone , Elena Varzi , Saro Urzì

Award winners

Golden bears

  • Documentation: Beaver Valley
  • Drama: The four in the jeep
  • Comedy: Unknown moved (... sans lassier d'address)
  • Crime or adventure film: jury court (Justice est faite)
  • Music film: Cinderella

Silver bears

  • Drama: Way of Hope (Il cammino della speranza)
  • Comedy: Drive into the Blue (Leva på "Hoppet")
  • Music Film: Les Contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann)

Bronze bears

  • Documentation: The Undefeated
  • Drama: Conflict of Heart (The Browning Version)
  • Comedy: SOS (The Mating Season)
  • Crime or adventure film Destination Moon (Destination Moon)

Golden badge

  • Documentary and cultural film: Little night ghosts
  • Art and science film : The film discovered works of art from ancient Indian times
  • Commercial: The Story of Time

Silver plaque

  • Documentary and cultural film: Begone Dull Care
  • Art and Science Film: Goya
  • Commercial: Het Gala-Concert

Bronze plaque

  • Documentary and cultural film: The yellow cathedral
  • Art and science film: Il paradiso perduto
  • Commercial: View into paradise

Large bronze plate

Small bronze plate

  • Conflict of Heart (The Browning Version)

Special award from the city of Berlin

  • God needs people (Dieu a besoin des hommes)
  • The Forbidden Christ (Il Cristo proibito)
  • Honorary certificate: Dr. Holl

Sources and web links