Although Billy Wilder's films have ensured him a place in the pantheon of world cinema, his 1927 series “Herr Ober, bitte einen Tänzer! Aus dem Leben eines Eintänzers” (“Waiter, a Dancer, Please! From the Life of an Eintänzer”), which depicts his employment as paid male dance partner in Weimar Berlin, has consistently escaped the critical radar. This essay sheds light on Wilder's days as Eintänzer and points to the impact this work had on his films Hold Back the Dawn (1941) and Sunset Boulevard (1950). Furthermore, the essay places Wilder's series within the context of self-testimonials by Weimar Eintänzer and raises awareness about this fascinating form of male employment and its role in the development of a spectrum of modern masculinities. The Eintänzer Wilder is interested in fashion and good looks but controls his possible interest in sexual encounters with clients. Most significantly, unlike other Eintänzer of the time, Wilder emerges as a self-conscious commodity, who uses self-irony, suspenseful humor, and dramatic irony to offer a look into a culturally charged form of male employment whose suggestive sexuality and inventive gender practices were characteristic of the social innovations of the Weimar era.
Mihaela Petrescu; Billy Wilder's Work as Eintänzer in Weimar Berlin. New German Critique 1 November 2013; 40 (3 (120)): 65–84. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2325428
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