Reich Film Chamber Poster Exhibition of March 1939
The annual meeting and ceremonies of the German Film Chamber each year in Berlin was one of official speeches, reports, exhibitions, and film screenings, which culminated in the famous Film Ball im Zoo attended by Chamber delegates, film stars and leaders of the greater film industry.
( Below: The Reichsfilmkammer office building at Bendlerstraße 33. The League of German Cimema Owners national offices were next door at 32a. Photo from Film–Kurier Tageszeitung, 25 April 1935. Special issue devoted to the International Film Congress held in Berlin. )
Despite the prominence of this annual event, it is only after decades of searching that we have been able to find a single press photo of the film poster exhibition which was opened on March 9,1939 by Chamber President, Dr. Oswald Lehnich.
Lehnich’s speech was published in the RFK’s 1939 Yearbook. In the speech he noted that each year an exhibition was installed which reflected the RFK’s realm – one on technical developments and film set model–building had been mounted the previous year, and this year attention was turned to ‘The Promotion of Film.’
This exhibition, in the Great Hall of the Kroll Opera House (shown below right, partially bombed out in 1945 and razed in 1957), displayed film publicity, materials, posters and even the huge ‘Aussenfront’ cinema exterior hoardings/billboards heralding a film’s premiere that could be found for important films across the front of the famous Ufa Palast am Zoo cinema, for example.
Lehnich pointed out in his speech that the exhibit on film promotion was using the new film by Karl Ritter, Pour le Mérite, to illustrate all aspects of film marketing – from the birth of the film through to its cinema screening.
After the exhibition opened on Thursday, 9th March, the next day was filled with speeches and reports about cinemas, domestic and foreign film sales, cultural and advertising films, Chamber membership gatherings, and at 8pm that night the keynote speech by Dr. Goebbels. The Saturday had five sequential half-hour presentations held in the Capitol am Zoo cinema; and the Film Ball at 9pm that night.
The RFK’s organ, Der Deutsche Film, put out a special March 1939 issue devoted to the same theme (cover of the magazine issue shown at left) Articles in the issue included: ‘Means of Advertising for Film,’ ‘Are Art and Advertising a Contradiction?,’ ‘Film Advertising from a Censor’s Point of View,’ ‘What we expect from a film poster,’ and others. English translations of these articles are to be found in the bookFilm Posters of the Third Reichby Joel Nelson and William Gillespie.
Triumph des Willens film poster
Our one press photo of the poster exhibition shows the two film posters for In Namen des Volkes and for Triumph des Willens. This is the first photo of the large (“A0” format) poster graphic design of the latter film, which we have ever seen. To the right, an advertisement in an April 1935 Film-Kurier Tageszeitung announcing a box office record for Triumph des Willens, which uses the exact same graphic design as the poster shown on this RFK film poster exhibition photo page. More proof that this was indeed the official poster design.
Here is the official German Press Bureau (DNB) issued press photo of Joseph Goebbels addressing the annual 1941 congress of the Reich Film Chamber.