Christopher and His Kind (2011) Script

-[Christopher] It's 40 years since I first wrote about my time in Berlin.

And the book I'm now writing is perhaps an attempt to set the record straight, well as straight as it's possible to be.

I destroyed my Berlin diaries you see so I've had to rely a good deal on memory.

As to why I went in the first place my friend Wystan Auden was there and encouraged me to join him.

I could also say I went because of what was happening politically.

But in fact I went because of the boys.

To me Berlin meant boys.


(speaking in foreign language)

♪ One man has hands that are tender ♪

♪ One man has hands that are strong ♪

♪ If I should choose to surrender ♪

♪ My choices are bound to be wrong ♪

♪ I might find my ideal lover ♪

♪ If I search both far and wide ♪ But my dear that simply won't do.

You're the very last person who ought to go there.

Berlin isn't the right place for you at all.

What on earth do you mean?

It's German darling.

Wystan Auden thinks it's the most marvelous place.

Auden, such an untidy boy.

And besides what about medical school?

But Mummy I am not cut out for medical school.

That's exactly what you said about Cambridge.

Really Christopher you cannot go through life shirking it.

It's time you buckled to.

I'm a published novelist.

Of course you are darling.

But wouldn't it be so much nicer to be a doctor as well?

It isn't a hobby you know.

Any normal mother would be proud.

And I am proud my sweetheart.

You know I found your novel most interesting.

I thought it was ingenious the way you used your antipathy to me to such creative effect.

But you cannot expect life to be one long holiday.

-[Christopher] I'm not going there on holiday.

I'm going there to get away from you.

-[Kathleen] Couldn't you go somewhere a little closer?

Like the Isle of Wight?

♪ I don't know to whom I belong ♪

♪ It would be such a shame to end up on my own ♪

♪ If I make myself true to one ♪

♪ How another will surely be sad and alone ♪

-[Kathleen] Of course you must do as you wish.

-[Christopher] I fully intend to.

It's only natural that you should want to flee the nest just as I'm bound to get more lonely.

When I think of what I went through to bring you into this world.

Months and months of feeling really quite seedy.

Oh well.

So be it.

You won't forget will you darling that the Germans killed your father?

(acoustic piano music)

Take me with you.

You have to stay and look after Mummy.

But for how long?

I'm afraid I can't answer that.

♪ If I make myself true to one ♪

♪ How another will surely be sad and alone ♪

♪ Should beauty belong to one person ♪

♪ No surely the sun and the stars ♪

♪ They belong to us all ♪

♪ I don't know to whom I belong ♪

♪ I believe I only belong to myself ♪

(audience applauds)

(speaking in foreign language)

(train engine rumbling)

I was wondering.

Do forgive me dear boy I didn't mean to startle you.

No no.

Could I trouble you for a light?

Yes of course.

I seem to have mislaid my lighter.

Suspect it, oh thank you dear boy.

It may have been, would you mind if I?

No no.

How kind.

It may have been stolen.

Oh dear.

One has to be so careful nowadays don't you find?

Are you going all the way?

Excuse me?

To Berlin.

Oh yes.

-[Gerald] Holiday?

I'm hoping for a little more than that.

Ah yes well.

Berlin has so much to offer in certain respects.

Do you live there?

For now.

One never knows what a new dawn may bring.

(contemplative music)

I hope you don't think I'm prying dear boy but do you have accommodation in Berlin?

I do as it happens.

The reason why I venture such impertinence is that my landlady dear sweet woman is desperate for a reliable lodger.

Her landlords are ruthless and if they knew that she didn't have the full quota they'd turf her out in an instant.

I have a feeling, though perhaps I shouldn't say so myself I do have a nose for these things, you might fit the bill perfectly.

My goodness yes.

Well that's most kind of you but--

I'll tell her then shall I?

Here's my card.

Mr Hamilton?

Oh Gerald please.

And who shall I tell her to expect?

Isherwood, Christopher Isherwood.

(upbeat music)


So here I am.

Yes here you are.

Good trip?

-[Christopher] Fine thanks.

-[Wystan] Those seats are devilish.

-[Christopher] I hardly noticed.

I thought we'd drop your case off then I'd show you the sights.

Best start as one means to go on.

(contemplative music)

I decided the Brandenburg Gate could wait.

(upbeat music)


Don't worry they won't bite, unless you want them to.

They're very accommodating if you have the cash.

But it won't break the bank.

The exchange rate is still very much in our favor.

Oh Pete.


(speaking in foreign language)

What are you saying?

What was that?

We've been something of a feature.

Well maybe more of a B feature.

I have no illusions of the pitfalls of loving a whore.

Are they all on the game?

Most of them yes.

You can't imagine what a state the economy's in.

They look very well on it.

They like to keep themselves fit.

It's good for business of course and they're shamelessly vain.

The fact that we find them desirable only proves how very masculine they are.

What do you mean we?

They're nearly all rampant heters and use our money to pay for cunt.

But don't let that put you off.

They're frightfully good at it.

What name does he go under?


It's about the only thing I understood.

Perhaps you'd better help me trot out the odd German phrase else I could get myself into the most frightful fix.

Perhaps I better had.

The question is will you understand the answers?

I might have found somewhere to stay.

I got talking to this man on the train.

Little slut.

Apparently his landlady's desperate for a lodger.

Something about filling her quota.

Anyway I thought there'd be no harm in checking it out.

You're very welcome to stay here you know.

In fact I'd very much like it if you did.

I need a room of my own Wystan.

And if I start giving lessons which I'm going to have to earn a bit of cash and subsidize my writing.

Well you can't write poetry with me buzzing about.

Yes you're right.

So I expect you'll be seeing him again this Caspar chappie?

Oh yes I hope so.

I have missed you.

(contemplative music)

I love English gentlemen Herr Isherwood.

Herr Hamilton's such a charming man.

And you a writer, what an honor.

You can write many famous novels here.

Oh Herr Isherwood this room was made for you.

It's very nice Fraulein Thurau.

Herr Isherwood you English are so polite.

Well you English men.

There is an English woman across the hall.

She treats me like a slave.

Fraulein Ross I tell her I was a lady.

I have not always scrubbed the floors.

Forgive me Herr Isherwood.

That was the lodger before you.

I don't know what he'd eaten but it won't come out.

(speaking in foreign language)

Morning darling.

I have the most perfectly frightful head.

-[Gerald] Who is it?


-[Gerald] Who?

Christopher Isherwood.

It's me Christopher we met on the train.

I've taken the room.

Oh, Christopher.

Do forgive me dear boy.

One has to be so careful nowadays.

Since my release from Brixton I've rather lost touch with the old country.

-[Christopher] You were in prison?

Yes for expressing anti-British sentiments.

Though how I ask could I be regarded as a traitor when I have rivers of Irish blood simply coursing through my veins?

-[Christopher] So you're in business here?

One must have fingers in many pies dear boy.

Such alarming times we live in.

Heinrich, a young stevedore I encountered in Hamburg.

And what were you doing in Hamburg?

What is one ever doing anywhere?

Passing through dear boy.

That is our destiny.

Forever passing through.

He does make rather an impression though doesn't he?

Well I, I...

I have found Christopher down the years that I've never been able to relax sexually with a member of my own class.

That an affair with one's social and intellectual equal is well nigh impossible.

I suppose.

You're in the right city dear boy.

Quite the place to let your hair down with some eager young prole.

Oh dear.

Is it crooked?

Just a tiny bit perhaps.

Also must take a little care we're still illegal.

And should the Nazis come to power they'll stamp us out altogether.

What's the current Communist line?

As far as I know Lenin said nothing about buggery.

Dearest Heinrich.

He smelt exactly like a fox.


Haven't you gone yet Ludo?

Do put something on.

You'll frighten the horses.

He's Polish.

-[Christopher] He noticed I was staring at his wig and asked if it was crooked.

Just a little I said and he straightened it.

(laughing in distance)

(suspenseful music)

You like yeah?

Yeah spot on.


Good, good.

And this?



What is it?

Big fish?

No no this, what is this?


No it's a clock.


Yes good and that's a dolphin.


Never mind.


Fraulein Schmidt?

Well, what is that?



(metal banging)


This is how I'd like to die.


(speaking in foreign language)

Oh good morning Fraulein Mayr, good morning.

(speaking in foreign language)


(speaking in foreign language)

How sweet love must be.

Tonight yes?

Morning darling.

Of course I don't know half the people who pass through this place but you've been here simply generations.

I thought we really must say hello.

Would you like coffee or tea?

I don't recommend the tea much.

I don't know what Fraulein Thurau does to it but it tastes like slop.

Tell me Chris what do you do?

People tend not to call me Chris.

I'm an actress.

Not at the moment I'm singing in a nightclub.

But you absolutely must come and see me.

What about tonight?

Tonight's rather difficult.

Was that your boyfriend in the hall or just a one off?

I do find one offs so much less of a hassle.

Don't you darling?

I've been here for centuries, getting on three months now.

I came here with a girlfriend who assured me we'd get film work but then she was whisked away to Paris by a fat banker left me utterly stranded.

How rotten.

Oh I don't care.

I can stand on my own two feet.

But you don't mind being here alone?

One's always alone ducky surely you know that.

How old are you?

I'm practically antique.

I'm nearly 21.

I'm frightfully bright you know.

I got myself expelled from school by saying I was pregnant.

There was a most terrible to do when they found out I wasn't.

I got myself sent down from Cambridge.

I say.

Flunked my tripos.

What a hoot. (giggles)

I'm meeting a man in the Adlon for lunch but he'll have to wait.

He has the most revolting underpants.

They're like camelhair or something.

It's the sort of thing John the Baptist might wear.

Oh Mummy would nearly die if she knew what an old whore I am.

But one has to keep that horrid wolf from the door doesn't one?

(speaking in foreign language)


How do you manage darling?

I've started giving English lessons.

But actually I'm a novelist.

A novelist?

Well how perfectly marvelous.

Are you published?

My first novel yes.

I haven't yet found a publisher for the second.

Has it sold simply thousands?

About 300 actually.

The one you write about me shall sell by the million.

About you?

Of course darling Jean Ross, woman of mystery.

I'm not sure you're that mysterious.

Do you know I think we're going to get along famously?

You will write about me won't you darling?


One can't afford to wait sweetie.

This whole thing is about to collapse around our ears.

Carpe diem darling.

(both laughing)

Oh damn I suppose I better go and meet the old goat.

He's promised to introduce me to Max Reinhardt.

I don't believe him for a second.

Why are men always such beasts darling?

Chris could you be an angel and lend me 10 marks?

I haven't got a bean for the taxi.

-[Christopher] She said his underpants were like camel hair the sort of thing John the Baptist might wear.

(contemplative music)

You're very quiet.

Touch of sunstroke.

You know coming to Berlin is the first honest thing I've done in my life.

And it's all thanks to you.

I doubt your mother sees it quite like that.

He's rather lovely don't you think?


So tell me Herr Isherwood have you come to Berlin to sample the culture?

I wouldn't quite say that.

In fact I'm rather anticulture.

Like the Nazis?

Oh no not in that way.

It's just I'm rather put off by culture worshipers.

I find them somewhat precious and prone to gushing.

Do you find me somewhat precious and prone to gushing?

No I'm sure you're not.

But the danger is that one can use culture worship as a substitute for engaging with the messy business of living.

See I find all this so very interesting.

You are a writer but do not like culture.

It is my belief that culture raises us from the beasts.

I wonder Herr Landauer why you've employed me to teach you English.

You seem to speak it perfectly well.

One has to how do you say, keep in practice.

What exactly is it that you do?

I am a shopkeeper.

A shopkeeper?

That is precisely what I am.

As in Landauer's Department Store?


That's where I buy my socks.

Do you engage in politics Herr Isherwood?

Actually no.

I'm not really much of a joiner.

I seem to be constitutionally incapable of bringing myself to the required pitch of enthusiasm.

I have my sympathies of course.

We can no longer afford the luxury of sympathy.

I rather suspect I'm best equipped to observe and record.

That will not be an option.

When the Nazis come to power we must take to the streets.

Not only Jews like myself but all of us Herr Isherwood.

We must take to the streets and stay there even when the storm troopers start firing.

I'm not sure I'd hack it as a street fighter.

Forgive me but are you not then as guilty as your detested culture worshipers for refusing to engage with the whole messy business?

I think maybe we should all play to our strengths.

Perhaps we will practice the irregular verbs.

-[Casper] You like that huh?

It's like silk.

If you go to gymnasium Christoph you'll be like me and Johnny Weissmuller.

I'm not so sure about that.

And then you'd do this?

No, no, Caspar.


Stop stop.

You like?

(speaking in foreign language)



You got 10 marks?


I'll pay you tonight.

Of course you will.


Oh dear.

Let us thank God Christoph that we are both normal.

-[Christopher] Aren't boys marvelous?

Their shape and their voices.

Their smell the way they move.

And they can be so romantic whereas girls...

No I'm glad I'm like I am.

Thank God for public school.

He's not coming is he?

As I've told you my dear intimacy's just business to them.

So you think if I stopped giving him money?

No no, Caspar and I it's more than just business.

They're desperate for cash and they'll do anything for it.

But what he says to me.

He'll tell you anything you want to hear.

Still what do I know about romance?

I'm a poet not a fucking journalist.

I've booked my ticket back to England.


Father's allowance has dried up.

And I really must get this fissure in my rectum seen to.

I hope that wasn't me.

I'm touched by your concern but really Christopher you mustn't flatter yourself.

(acoustic piano music)

♪ Can't imagine why I chose to leave him ♪

♪ How could I have been so cruel ♪

♪ After all he loved me without question ♪

♪ Still I left him like a fool ♪

♪ If I woke him late at night complaining ♪

♪ I'm on my last cigarette ♪

♪ He'd say I'll be over in a minute ♪

♪ Darling please don't get upset ♪

♪ Peter ♪

♪ Peter ♪

(speaking in foreign language)

(drum roll playing) (small blast explodes)

That's not what I was expecting at all.

I suspect that's a compliment so thank you darling.

I'm so thrilled you're here.

Bobby sweetie.

Good job hun.

Oh I'm in heaven.

Chris darling this is Bobby Gilbert.

He does something frantically important something or other.

I'm in steel.

This is Chris Isherwood.


Hey Chris.

Any day now Bobby's going to whisk me off to Hollywood aren't you darling?

You bet.

And I've told him all about you.

Chris is absolutely my best friend.

He's the writer.

Oh yeah right.

Would I have read anything of yours Chris?

Oh no but I've told him if he really sticks at it he could write something really great like Noel Coward or something.

Couldn't you darling?

What's the matter Christoph you don't like me tonight?

Hey Christoph what's the matter?

I don't like being taken for an idiot that's what's the matter.

You say you'll meet me then you don't turn up.

You take money off me and say you'll pay me back but never do.

It's getting to the point where I can't believe anything you tell me.

Yes I understand.

I understand.

Some of the girls I see they're like that.

They say things and then let me down and it makes me mad.

And when I see them I always pay them I never hit them and still they let me down.

But you know Christoph some of them they are so beautiful and they make me so happy and I just forget how mad I am.

You bastard.

(punch lands)

(train rumbling)

(train horn blowing)

Your eyes Christoph.

They shine so bright when you're hot for me.

-[Christopher] Oh Caspar.

He gave me a cheap gold plated bracelet, probably an unwanted gift from some admirer, and fastened it around my wrist.

A love token I fondly thought.

But then he disappeared.

I asked around but no one knew where he was.

I should have listened to Wystan.

Perhaps it was just a business transaction after all.

(speaking in foreign language)

Must be simply marvelous to be a novelist.

Why's that?

Because when people are utterly foul to you you can sit down and write about them and tell the whole world how perfectly vile they are and make simply pots of money out of it.

It hasn't quite worked out like that yet.

Darling will you be an angel and light my ciggie?

Actually I've been offered the chance to earn a bit extra.

Take it.

Writing the occasional letters from Berlin and doing the odd book review.

Darling that's marvelous.

Let's have champagne.

It's for a magazine called Action.

Oswald Mosley's rag.

Oh you know it then?

Of course I know it.

I may wear green nail varnish I'm not completely vacuous.

I've always meant to ask.

Why do you wear green nail varnish?

Have you said yes?

Not yet.

You're not going to.

Well I wouldn't write anything political.

Writing anything for that lot would be a statement of sorts even if it was for the cookery column.

The money would come in awfully handy.

Christopher you can't.

But Jean.

I wouldn't talk to you again and that's an end to it.

I was just testing the water that's all.

I wasn't really going to write anything for them.

Honestly I wasn't.

I'm one to talk.

Gosh you know the things I've done for money.

But people here are so strange.

They have simply no idea.

And the Nazis are getting more and more of a foothold and they just seem to accept it.

I've even heard some people talk of a brighter future as if all this ghastliness were a price worth paying.

They're going to get the most awful shock unless they make a stand, which you and I must do.

We must not throw in the towel.

Why are you looking at me like that?

I don't really know.

(upbeat music)

(groaning in pain)

My god.

Morning darlings.

God in heaven.

(groaning in pain)

Oh dear I hope he won't do himself a mischief.

He ought to be more careful at his time of life.

(groaning in pain)

(contemplative music)

(cork popping) (Jean giggling)

Oh Bobby darling you do that so well.

You must teach me one day how to catch it in my mouth.

You bet honey.

(Jean laughing)

Thank you.

To The Memorial.

The Memorial.

So do you think I'd enjoy your book Chris?

Well I'm not sure what sort of books you like Bobby.

What do you think hun?

I haven't a clue darling.

But I expect it's astoundingly brilliant.

And the point is it's published.

His second novel in print.

And he's even had a letter of congratulation from E. M. Forrester.



It won't be long now till our Chris is just as famous.

So who's that guy in the wig?

Gerald. Gerald.

Well I could swear that Gerald was peeking through the keyhole while I was in the john.

When I came out he didn't know where to look.

I expect he knew exactly where to look.




Darling I adore champagne.

We'll have it every day won't we once you whisk me off to Hollywood?

Sure thing.

Bobby. (laughing)

Naughty Bobby.

(dog barking)

(overlapping voices shouting)

(footsteps marching away)

I was in the cafe, you were, do you remember?

No well why should you?

My name is Christopher.

Perhaps you'd like to go for beer.



I'm sorry.

(contemplative music)

His name was Heinz.

Well he was innocent, vulnerable, and uncritical.

A boy I could protect and cherish as my very own.

Jean thought it was all frightfully jolly and decided I was at last doing my bit for the class struggle.

And as Heinz and I drew ever closer I had no hesitation in falling in love.

(contemplative music)

She needs to be in hospital but there is no beds.


(contemplative music)

-[Thug] Gerald, come on out I know you're in there.

He's not here.

-[Thug] Where is he then?


-[Thug] Hamburg, well when he is back tell him if I don't get what I want he knows what to expect.

Don't you Gerald?

(loud pounding)

Some people seem to be utterly lacking in consideration.

Tell me what it's about Gerald.

It's a business transaction that's all.

It went slightly awry.

What sort of business?

Do you know Christopher you're looking as joyous as the first day of spring.


I was offered a small fee to help someone get his hands on a police dossier.


Actually it was a positively glacial sum that would have paid off my debts at a stroke.

And do you know what?

The wretched man simply vanished.

Without paying me a single pfennig.

So who was that at the door?

A philistine my dear claiming interest on a little loan.

A loan for what?

Do keep up dear boy.

For the money I needed to bribe the police to get the dossier.

What are on earth were you thinking of?

The trouble is everyone's so greedy nowadays.

And dishonest.

Simply can't trust a soul.



Your wig's slipped.

(contemplative music)

(floor creaking)

No. (dull thudding)

My dear Christopher, I've had to leave Berlin at very short notice which made it impossible for me to communicate with you.

Our friend at the door finally lost patience and matters got a little out of hand.

Try not to think too hardly of me dear boy.

That would be more than I could bear.

As always your affectionate Gerald.

(contemplative music)

They give her bed at last.

Ah that's very good news Frau Neddermayer.

She make dress to look nice in sanatorium.

Oh I see.

Well it would be...


And to see his Nazi friends.

(breathing deeply)


The last Kaiser always mistrusted Berlin.

He saw it as a center of, how do you say, dissidence.

Yes good.

What with the leftist working class and the intellectual avant-garde--

See I'm wondering if the working class is as leftist as one imagines.

It was not that long ago Herr Isherwood that we came close to a communist revolution.

But they elect a strong leader.

This is where Adolf Hitler has been so very clever and exploited the situation.

Ever since the Treaty of Versailles and the Depression brought the country to its knees with banks failing and savings disappearing the poor and the unemployed see him as their savior.

The Nazis organize everywhere.

In bars, in clubs, in schools like a virus.

I see.

Yeah like a virus.

But all of this I am sure that you know.

Or do you spend too much time at play?

Berlin can be very distracting.

We must all stand by our own kind Christopher.

Whatever the cost.

(acoustic piano music)

♪ I can't give you anything but love ♪

♪ Baby ♪

♪ That's the only thing I've plenty of ♪

♪ Baby ♪

♪ Dream a while scheme a while ♪

♪ We're sure to find ♪

♪ Happiness ♪

♪ And I guess ♪

♪ All those things you've always pined for ♪

♪ I can't give you anything but love. ♪ Bravo.

Did your mother teach you how to cook?


But she's not very well she's at the sanatorium I did say.

Of course.

So tell me what exactly is this?

Pig. (Grunts)

Oh pork how lovely.

It is a...

Pork rib, delicious.

No no I think he means lung.

(speaking in foreign language)



(distant laughter)

And then before my very eyes I saw him turn from prince to frog.

And I thought did I really let that make love to me?



This is my brother Gerhardt.

Gerhardt it's a pleasure to meet you.

Won't you join us?

We're having the most perfect evening.

I think your brother is simply divine.

And he has cooked us a marvelous meal.

You are no longer welcome here Herr Isherwood.

He doesn't mean it.

May I ask why?

Before our father went to the Western Front he said to me Gerhardt look out after your mother and your brother.

I've always tried to honor his memory but with no work and no money it's been difficult.

I'm sure it has.


But now there is hope Herr Isherwood.

And Herr Hitler is the reason.

Oh for goodness sake.

He understands men like me.

He wants to make us proud again, hold our heads up high again.

The Communists had their chance.

The Nazis are the people's party now.

This is your friends at night school talking Gerhardt.

Did he just call me a tart?

We do not want you here Herr Isherwood.

You and your kind.

Oh how frightfully rude.

So take your pick Heinz.

Make your father proud.

Or shame us all.

But Gerhardt.

(dramatic music)

-[Jean] Honestly darling how could we leave poor Heinz with that monster?

I'm sure he can stand up for himself.

We'll probably find him hacked into little pieces at the bottom of a canal.

And you didn't help matters addressing Gerhardt like you were Queen Mary at an investiture.

And after that trouble he went to with the pig lung hash.

(punch landing)

(speaking in foreign language)

(punches landing)

You bastards you bastards!

You brutes, you filthy rotten brutes!

For God's sake.

Oh you're just as bad every one of you.

Poor darling it's over now.

Can we get a taxi?

Can somebody please get a taxi?

(speaking in foreign language)

You know you get used to it that's the danger.

The uniforms and the raids, the street fights, beatings.

We can't just stand by can we?


We can't you know.

We really can't.

(speaking in foreign language)

(contemplative music)


(contemplative music)

Such a pity.

Isn't it?

That we don't make love.

After all there's nothing else to do.

We could go to the movies.

I haven't got two pfennigs to rub together.



Jean what is it?

Hollywood's off.

Jean I'm so sorry.

Dear Jean I have to go back to the states.

Some emergency at H.Q.

It was fun wasn't it?


What a complete bastard.

Typical bloody American, flaky as hell.

You fancied him rotten.

That's beside the point, come here.

(thunder rolling)

And he was the most marvelous lover.

He was the best.

-[Christopher] Jean poor darling.

He did leave me a little something.

-[Christopher] So he bloody should.

But I shan't be keeping it.

(big band music)

(record repeating)

(acoustic piano music)

♪ Men say that they can be faithful ♪

♪ Simply I smile to myself ♪

♪ New love is always so novel ♪

♪ Faithfulness is but pretend ♪

♪ Now it is all but forgotten ♪

♪ What yesterday I still possessed ♪

♪ Love affords time that is blissful ♪

♪ Loyalty still makes no sense ♪

♪ I don't know to whom I belong ♪

♪ It would be such a shame to end up on my own ♪

♪ If I make myself true to one ♪

♪ How another will surely be sad and alone ♪

♪ Should such a beauty belong to one person ♪

♪ No surely the sun and the stars ♪

♪ They belong to us all ♪

♪ I don't know to whom I belong ♪

♪ I believe I only belong to myself ♪

(contemplative music)

They come they go.

And so it will always be.

(contemplative music)

Good morning Herr Isherwood.

(speaking in foreign language)

What a beautiful morning.

Even the sun seems to have come out for Herr Hitler.

Oh Herr Isherwood the police have been round.

The police?

They were asking about my lodgers.

What did they want to know?

Routine they said.

(bells ringing)

(speaking in foreign language)


I would remind you sir that this is a Jewish store and that there is now an official anti-Jewish boycott.

Where have you been?

I've been looking everywhere for you.

You disappeared, I didn't know what happened.


(contemplative music)

I need to buy a pair of socks.

(contemplative music)

(overlapping voices)

(cart rumbling)

(all shouting at once)

(contemplative music)



(contemplative music)

(loud thumping)

(speaking in foreign language)

Street sweeper no maybe domestic servant or yes why not, domestic servant.


I cannot come Christopher.

But of course you can.

No it is too dangerous.

For you for me.

It's even more dangerous if you stay.

For Gerhardt.


He's one of them for God's sake.

He's my brother.

We're brothers too Heinz and more much more besides.

This is my country.

Not at the moment it isn't.

It will be again one day I've no doubt but in the meantime.

You do not miss home.

I have no home this is home, wherever I am.

We should be where we belong.

We are where we belong.

Together we must stand.

Together we're responsible for each other as individuals.

Don't you see?

You have to come with me I want you to.

Now you do but in a week a month.

I'll still want you Heinz.


Of course I will.


-[Mayr] I'm sure I do not know Herr Isherwood.

What makes you want to leave Berlin?

How can I best put this Fraulein?

Adolf Hitler.

The Fuhrer.

One day it's Bruning, then Von Papen, next Von Schleicher.

Then it's Hitler.

We must all make the best of it Herr Isherwood.

I am staying.

Most Germans are staying.

And besides where else would we go?

Well this is your homeland Fraulein I understand that but Heinz and I we want to get out, we want to travel.

But why, to go here to go there, what is the point?

Soon no one will be left.

Herr Hamilton has gone, Fraulein Ross, now you.

You get used to it.

You get used to anything.

(contemplative music)

Is your room satisfactory?

Mummy he's not retarded.

Where you sleep is good yes?

Yes I sleep good.

Yes, good.

Thank you.

-[Kathleen] How long have you known Christopher?

Mummy. Shush.

I know Christopher one year and one half.

Oh that long?

And he's hardly mentioned you if at all.

And how long are you staying in our country?

Two weeks.

I'm sure Heinz can answer for himself can't you Heinz?

Two weeks.

You see.

What a shame it's not longer.

Two weeks is as long as his permit allows.

Then maybe another time.

What is that?

Oh now--


That Heinz is Wyberslegh Hall, part of the family estate.

It's in Cheshire in the North of England.

I painted it as a matter of fact.

You paint it?


It's very good.

Thank you Heinz.

That is the house where I gave birth to Christopher.


And very difficult it was too.

I was in labor for 18 hours, 18 hours, imagine that.

-[Christopher] Mummy please.

Oh dear that was rather maudlin of me wasn't it?

But it was worth it.

He was the most delightful baby.

Yes I'm sure Heinz isn't remotely interested.

He had the loveliest skin and long slitty eyes just like a Jap. (chuckling)

You see of course he's interested.

-[Christopher] You live in the past Mummy.

-[Kathleen] Perhaps I do Christopher.

Because it's always there and it never lets me down.

Do you have a mummy Heinz?

-[Christopher] She's dead.


Oh I am sorry.

Oh dear.

Christopher's daddy's dead.

He was killed in the war.

He was my daddy too.

Yes dear but you hardly knew him.

He was killed by the Germans on the Western Front.

What are you thinking of?

I'm not blaming Heinz darling.

I'm simply filling him in.

And for your information Heinz's daddy was also killed on the Western Front.

Well there you are you see that's what wars do, kill people.


He's a nice boy, well mannered.

A street cleaner you say?

There's no reason a street cleaner can't be well mannered.

No dear no reason at all.

How lovely to have a job like ordinary people.

But who'd have you my darling?

You seem to be inept at pretty much everything.

Don't speak to him like that.

It's entirely your fault he is like he is.

Like what?

Richard dear we're talking.

It's terrible he has to go back.

And now Germany's withdrawn from the League of Nations.

Yes that is rather troubling.

I must think of a way of getting him out for good.

But why should that be your responsibility?

Surely he knows people who can help.

Well he has absolutely no one Mummy except for a brother who's disowned him.

And besides I want it to be my responsibility.

-[Kathleen] So what will you do?

Get him another permit?

Or even another nationality.

Of course you could always adopt him.

Darling I don't think so.


Are you sure he wouldn't be happier in Germany?

It is his home after all it's where he belongs.

And he isn't a Jew or anything.

You have no idea have you?

It's Nazi Germany we're talking about.

It's not just the Jews who are being victimized.

I do read the papers darling.

I'm fully aware that the Nazis have done some bad things.

Although one hears that Herr Hitler's done some good things too.

Oh dear God.

If it weren't for that wretched boy Auden dragging you off there in the first place.

I assure you he didn't need to drag me.

But you must do as you wish Christopher as you always do.

So long as you realize what you might be taking on.

Right, we're going to mail money to him in Berlin.


So he can support himself until he comes back here.

And if you write a letter inviting him to stay--


Then I'm sure they'll give him a much longer permit.

Maybe even for keeps.

You can't do that.

-[Investigator] I think you'll find that I can.

But you haven't proved your case.

Mr. Isherwood your mother invites a foreign servant to her home without the requisite permit.

You then send the boy money telling him to claim it was a bequest which in itself can be construed as an attempt to deceive His Majesty's Immigration Service.

But then we have the letter that you wrote.

May I?

I am counting the days until your arrival.

I've been so lonely without you.

It's a bit curious don't you think?

The way it's written it's a bit, what's the word?


Thank you Mr Auden.

What a boon to have a poet on hand.

You can't send him back!


No no, God knows what they might do to him.

Not my responsibility.

So an alien has no rights whatsoever in this democracy we're all so proud of that men have laid down their lives for.

And I hope should the moment come sir that you too will be willing to make the sacrifice.

Make no mistake I shall appeal.

You can write to the Home Secretary for all the good it'll do.

Come on.

(contemplative music)

As soon as I saw that little rat I knew we were done for.

They're all the bloody same.

Oh no my dear he's one of us.

It stands out a mile.

(contemplative music)

I'm sorry.

(contemplative music)

-[Richard] You seem out of sorts.

Do I?

It's Heinz isn't it?

Goodbyes are always sad.

As sad as dying.

I'll be seeing him soon enough.

-[Richard] That's right.


No need to be sad.

I suppose being a writer you want to tidy everything up and make it make sense but things never do quite make sense do they?

Not really.


This Sally Bowles character is she based on anyone?

Yes in a manner of speaking.

What about Mr. Norris?

Yes I suppose he is too.

I thought we might first meet him on a train.

Oh yes trains are always good.

You can't go wrong with a train.

Where were we?

Full stop, close quotation marks.


It must be very polarizing this Nazi business.

Hard to sit on the fence I'd imagine.

Yes it is.

Berlin's fairly seething what with all the poverty and wounded pride.

I'd say Communism was the best hope for peace.

Then why not stay here and join the Party?

I can't do that I have Heinz to consider.

Yes Heinz of course.

So where will you go?

Amsterdam probably for the time being.

That's all one can say isn't it?

For the time being.

(contemplative music)

It always breaks my heart a little to see you leave.

-[Christopher] You should be used to it by now.

Oh no, I'll never get used to it.

And how awful if I did.

I'll be back.

I always am.

And so once again I cast off from England and threw in my lot with Heinz.

Two lost souls wandering around Europe on the brink.

I have to admit I felt a little guilty flitting from country to country to save a single man whilst others were preparing to save the world.

But then our luck ran out and Heinz was arrested by the Gestapo and that was that.

(upbeat music)

Daily Worker ladies.

No appeasement.

Fight the Fascists.

-[Waiter] Excuse me miss.

I'm exercising my democratic right.


Only you would choose to sell the Daily Worker in Knightsbridge.

I have no say in the matter.

I go where the Party tells me.

You are looking impossibly young.

Aren't you ever going to age?

I do hope not, my God the varnish.

(Jean laughs)

I somehow felt that red was more appropriate.

I must confess I carry it with me everywhere.

Isn't it funny darling?

You're the one that became famous.

And you know I must say I'm rather enjoying it.

And meanwhile poor Heinz.

Well I dread to think what he's being subjected to.

A year laboring for the state followed by two years in the army.

It's frightfully harsh.

It could have been worse.

He might have got carted off to a concentration camp.

You did all you could.

I wonder if I did.

I wonder if I did really.

And what's worse I even feel relieved.

Do you ever miss Berlin?

Oh no.

I never miss anything.

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't have had that kid.

I think I'd just about have cut the mustard as a mother.

I'd tuck him in and I'd sing to him.

And then I'd go out and fuck filthy old men to pay for the brat.


Then why not marry and have another?

Because I've lost my faith in men.

Well that's a shame.

I've simply no use for them any more.

Not even you darling.

Oh well.

Back to the Revolution.

(contemplative music)

Might we see each other again?

Goodbye Chris.


Seems like everyone's caught Communism like flu.

-[Wystan] It's fair to say that the closest we've come to solidarity with the workers is sleeping with them.

Well that's a cause of sorts.

The only cause you really care about Christopher is yourself.

Isn't that rather unkind?

But you've turned it into an art form.

Rather successfully as it happens.

I used to be a little in love with you.

You knew that didn't you?

Yes I thought you did.

You're lucky.

You're not burdened by the concept of sin.

And it is a sin Christopher.

Although I fully intend to carry on sinning.

Look please don't start on about God.

You're going to have such a conversion one of these days my dear.

I do loathe the sea.

It's so wet and sloppy.

I don't belong here.

I'm not sure I belong anywhere.

I rather like being a foreigner.

I wonder where we might end up.

(contemplative music)

Wystan was right.

I've never known about anybody except me.

You see I was never able to commit.

I only ever sort of added to the chorus.

And now of course politics are more and more about the individual.

The gay liberation movement seems to have taken me to its heart.

It's very nice of them really.

A cause at last.

But then I think it always was my cause.

And somehow you know it makes sense of what I was trying to do for Heinz all those years ago.

(contemplative music)


(contemplative music)

You write again about Berlin?

Yes, for a British newspaper.

Well a lot has changed yeah?

-[Christopher] What's left of it.

When the city was cut in pieces and we end up in the Russian sector.

Rotten luck?

We all hate the Russians Christoph.

We would much rather be here in the Western.

Maybe one day.

My friend Christoph the famous writer.

I suppose you could say that.

Tell me there are skyscrapers in America?

Oh yes.

And you see Hollywood?

I live near there actually.

And the Grand Canyon you see that?

Yes yes it's very big.

And cowboys?

No I haven't seen too many of them.

I feel guilty Heinz.

All that I made you suffer I should never have taken you out of Germany.

But Christoph you changed my life.

What we had, what we did, I would not miss for the world.

Look Christoph, my wife Hilda.

Well she looks

very nice.

Yeah she's a good girl.

And she doesn't ask questions.

That's all right then.

And this is my son




(contemplative music)

You know Christoph you're not getting younger.

That's the way it tends to go.

You live alone yes?

At the moment.

See that is not good to live alone.

You need a family around you to keep you company to look after you when you are sick.

Heinz I'm not decrepit.

But listen Christoph we could be your family.


Hilda, Christoph, and I out there in California.

Well I'm not so sure about that.

You see the life I lead.

My plans are so uncertain.

I'd have to think it over look we'll see how it goes.

And I'll write to you we'll keep in touch.

You do understand don't you Heinz?

You do don't you?

Yes I, I understand.

(contemplative music)


(joyous laughing)

When the city was divided we got the Americans.

Oh I was so happy, we we're all so happy.

I thank God the Russians didn't get us.


Oh Herr Isherwood you look like a child.

It's lovely to see you Fraulein.

Herr Isherwood, Isherwood.

The last years of war here Isherwood.



We were in the cellar nearly all the time holding each other.

We prayed so much we got quite religious. (laughing)

Is the yodeler still there?

No thank God.

The Nazis shot her.

It's the one good thing they did.

(both laughing)

(contemplative music)

Another survivor Fraulein?

Another survivor.

It was damaged a little.

But I mended it.

For you.

No I couldn't.

Take it please.

And when you look at it you will think of Berlin And Fraulein Thurau and smile.

(contemplative music)

Thank you.

(contemplative music)