49 min

4. Gossip, Revolution and a Censored Kiss The Film We Can’t See

    • History

Adam’s investigation into the lost sound archive prompts him to watch Mädchen in Uniform, a lesbian high school dramedy from 1931. He learns all about how the film was nearly lost forever, and its significance today is explained to him by Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger from Invisible Women, a feminist film collective.

Adam also listens to the fourth sound disc - a weird multi-voice dadaist poem - and tries to imagine where that might fit into the story of the film that was never made. Perhaps it’s one of the many unrealised projects of Paul Robeson, the actor and singer who fought racism and fascism while performing for audiences around the world. Paul’s own stories of censorship and racism inspire So Mayer, the writer and researcher, to take Adam on a visit to a historical location, the Savoy Hotel. Here they meet actors Ashleigh Wilder and Emeric Bernard-Jones. Over cocktails they pick up Paul’s story, linking past and present in a story of how our genders and sexualities influence how people perceive us all.

This episode contains audio from:
Clip from Monitor interview with Paul Robeson courtesy of BBC
Clip from newsreel about Paul Robeson concert courtesy of BBC
Sound effects from Freesound and BBC

And quotes from:
‘What Shall You Do In the War?’ by Bryher, in Close Up magazine, June 1933
Letter from Paul Robeson to James Marley, reprinted on The Guardian website, 2019
Paul Robeson, quoted by Martin Bauml Duberman in Paul Robeson, Ballantine Books, 1989

Credits:
Written, produced and edited by Adam Zmith
With story by So Mayer and Adam Zmith
Starring Anton Blake Horowitz
Ashleigh Wilder as Paul Robeson and themself, thanks to Queer House
Emeric Bernard-Jones as Paul Robeson and himself, thanks to Trans+ on Screen, an organisation representing trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming professionals in film and TV on a business model which challenges industry norms
Music by Courtney Pine
Assistant Producers - Tash Walker and Shivani Dave
Researcher - So Mayer
Audio consultant - David Pye
Artwork by Danny Crossley
Production Mentors - Caroline Steel and Andy King
Executive Producers - Khaliq Meer and Leanne Alie
Commissioned for BBC Sounds Audio Lab by Khaliq Meer

Thanks to:
Aleks Kolkowski
Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger from Invisible Women
Andrew Woodyatt and everyone at the Rio Cinema
Peninsula Press
The BFI and the BFI National Archive
Axel Kacoutié
Nikki Meadows
Char Boden at Queer House
Alice Blanc at Trans+ on Screen
Polly Pritchard and Virginia Webb at the Savoy Hotel
A. De La Fe, Lori lo Bianco, Holly Murtha, Shivani Dave

Adam’s investigation into the lost sound archive prompts him to watch Mädchen in Uniform, a lesbian high school dramedy from 1931. He learns all about how the film was nearly lost forever, and its significance today is explained to him by Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger from Invisible Women, a feminist film collective.

Adam also listens to the fourth sound disc - a weird multi-voice dadaist poem - and tries to imagine where that might fit into the story of the film that was never made. Perhaps it’s one of the many unrealised projects of Paul Robeson, the actor and singer who fought racism and fascism while performing for audiences around the world. Paul’s own stories of censorship and racism inspire So Mayer, the writer and researcher, to take Adam on a visit to a historical location, the Savoy Hotel. Here they meet actors Ashleigh Wilder and Emeric Bernard-Jones. Over cocktails they pick up Paul’s story, linking past and present in a story of how our genders and sexualities influence how people perceive us all.

This episode contains audio from:
Clip from Monitor interview with Paul Robeson courtesy of BBC
Clip from newsreel about Paul Robeson concert courtesy of BBC
Sound effects from Freesound and BBC

And quotes from:
‘What Shall You Do In the War?’ by Bryher, in Close Up magazine, June 1933
Letter from Paul Robeson to James Marley, reprinted on The Guardian website, 2019
Paul Robeson, quoted by Martin Bauml Duberman in Paul Robeson, Ballantine Books, 1989

Credits:
Written, produced and edited by Adam Zmith
With story by So Mayer and Adam Zmith
Starring Anton Blake Horowitz
Ashleigh Wilder as Paul Robeson and themself, thanks to Queer House
Emeric Bernard-Jones as Paul Robeson and himself, thanks to Trans+ on Screen, an organisation representing trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming professionals in film and TV on a business model which challenges industry norms
Music by Courtney Pine
Assistant Producers - Tash Walker and Shivani Dave
Researcher - So Mayer
Audio consultant - David Pye
Artwork by Danny Crossley
Production Mentors - Caroline Steel and Andy King
Executive Producers - Khaliq Meer and Leanne Alie
Commissioned for BBC Sounds Audio Lab by Khaliq Meer

Thanks to:
Aleks Kolkowski
Camilla Baier and Rachel Pronger from Invisible Women
Andrew Woodyatt and everyone at the Rio Cinema
Peninsula Press
The BFI and the BFI National Archive
Axel Kacoutié
Nikki Meadows
Char Boden at Queer House
Alice Blanc at Trans+ on Screen
Polly Pritchard and Virginia Webb at the Savoy Hotel
A. De La Fe, Lori lo Bianco, Holly Murtha, Shivani Dave

49 min