The Merry Wives of Windsor (1950 film)

The Merry Wives of Windsor (German: Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor) is a 1950 East German musical comedy film directed by Georg Wildhagen. It was based on William Shakespeare's play by the same name.

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Directed byGeorg Wildhagen
Written byOtto Nicolai (opera)
Salomon Hermann Mosenthal (opera)
William Shakespeare (play)
Georg Wildhagen
Wolff von Gordon
StarringSonja Ziemann
Camilla Spira
Paul Esser
Ina Halley
Music byOtto Nicolai (opera)
CinematographyEugen Klagemann
Karl Plintzner
Distributed byProgress Film
Release date
22 October 1950
Running time
96 minutes
CountryEast Germany


In Elizabethan England, Sir John Falstaff is embroiled in attempting to have a love affair with several women, which soon turns into a humorous adventure.



The film is an adaptation of the 1849 opera The Merry Wives of Windsor composed by Otto Nicolai with a libretto by Salomon Hermann Mosenthal which was based on William Shakespeare's play of the same title. It was made by the state-owned DEFA studio on a large budget.[1]


The film was highly successful by East German standards,[2] and drew 6,090,329 viewers to the cinemas.[3] Ernst Richter noted that while "the socially critical tone was unmistakably present in the film", it was free of "heavy-handed communist propaganda."[4] Heinz Kersten characterized it as one of the last apolitical entertainment pictures produced by DEFA before the Socialist Unity Party of Germany tightened its control on the national film industry.[5] Albert Wilkening wrote it was "a significant step forward in making movies in the GDR... Wildhagen's directing was quite skillful."[6]


  1. Davidson & Hake p.220
  2. Kersten. p. 29.
  3. List of the 50 highest-grossing DEFA films.
  4. Richter. p. 245.
  5. Kersten. p. 52.
  6. Wilkening. p. 165.


  • Sabine Hake, John Davidson (editors). Framing the Fifties: Cinema in a Divided Germany. Berghahn Books (2007). ISBN 978-1-84545-204-9.
  • Ernst Richert. Agitation und Propaganda : das System der publizistischen Massenführung in der Sowjetzone. Institut für politische Wissenschaft (1958). OCLC 185953805.
  • Heinz Kersten. Das Filmwesen in der Sowjetischen Besatzungszone Deutschlands. Bundesministerium für Gesamtdeutsche Fragen (1963). ASIN B0000BK48Q.
  • Albert Wilkening. Film. VEB Bibliographisches Institut (1966). OCLC 7216389.
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