Opening October 17, 2019
Directed by: Philipp Stölzl
Writing credits: Alexander Dydyna
Principal actors: Heike Makatsch, Moritz Bleibtreu, Katharina Thalbach, Uwe Ochsenknecht, Michael Ostrowski, Pasquale Aleardi, Marlon Schramm
Maria (Katharina Thalbach) has lost her memory except for one fact: she remembers that she has never been in New York. She boards the MX Maximillian cruise ship, where her daughter Lisa (Heike Makatsch) and co-worker Fred (Michael Ostrowski) discover her below deck just as the ship leaves the Hamburg harbor. Thus, all three are stowaways on their way to New York, taking on cleaning jobs for the right to a bunk, since they have no tickets. During the trip, Lisa falls in love with another passenger, Axel (Moritz Bleibtreu), who is on board with his young son Florian; Maria ends up with Otto (Uwe Ochsenknecht), an elderly man who serves as a dance partner for single ladies. Does he really know Maria from the past? She doesn’t remember. Fred helps the ship’s magician Costa in his evening presentations – in more ways than one.
As the trip proceeds, the love stories escalate, but the real thrill is the music: 18 songs all composed over the last 30 years by Austrian-Swiss composer/singer Udo Jürgens (1934-2014). This combination originally premiered as a musical, of the same title in 2007. The film takes the musical to a new height with possibilities not available on stage. Even non-German speakers will appreciate the music, the dance scenes, the extremely colorful wardrobes, as well as the cast of well-known German actors, especially new faces such as Marlon Schramm, who plays the young son Florian and Greek-Italian Pasquale Aleardi, who plays the magician. Even I, as a non-German, recognized eight of the songs such as “Aber bitte mit Sahne” or “Mit sechsundsechszig Jahren” or “Siebzehn Jahr blondes Haar.” (Becky T.)