Skip to main content

Gloomy Sunday Movie (1999)


Gloomy Sunday (Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod)

Gloomy Sunday or Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod ( A song of Love and Death) is a Hugarian/German co-production film released on October 21, 1999. It stars Joachim Krol , Erika Marozsan, Stefano Dionisi and Ben Becker.

The movie centers on a romantic love triangle with tragic consequences. It has a strong history background, set in Hungary during World War II. The film is based on the novel by Nick Barkow, co-written and directed by Rolf Schubel and tells a fictional story about the creation of the infamous song "Gloomy Sunday".

Gloomy Sunday is rated R. But this lens is rated G.

Plot - Spoiler free

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsán and Stefano Dionisi

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsán and Stefano Dionisi

The Film begins in modern times at a Budapest restaurant, Szabo, where an elderly couple is enjoying a meal to celebrate the man's 80th birthday. He asks for the musicians to play `that famous song' as he focuses on a photograph of a beautiful young woman at the piano. As the violin plays the notes of Gloomy Sunday, the song in question, he keels over and dies.

The audience is taken to pre-war Budapest restaurant owned by Laszlo Szabo (Joachim Król), a Jew, and his waitress and lover Ilona (Erika Marozan). Laszlo and Ilona are hiring a pianist and hire Andras Aradi (Stefana Dionisi). Andras falls for Ilona, and composes the haunting Gloomy Sunday in her honor. A German industrialist, Hans Wieck (Ben Becker), becomes a regular at the restaurant and he, too, falls for Ilona's charms.

As the film progresses and the men are vying for Ilona's affections, the song is recorded and sweeps the world. The song triggers many people to commit suicide which plagues Andras. As World War II breaks out, Wieck becomes a colonel in the German army and has a power over the other two men that leads to disaster for all involved.

Actors of Gloomy Sunday

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsan, Stefano Dionisi, and Joachim Krol

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsan, Stefano Dionisi, and Joachim Krol

Joachim Król as Laszlo - A German Actor of Polosu descent. Between 1981 to 1984 he studied at the Otto-Falckenberg-Schule in Munich. He is best known as a film and television actor.

In 1993, he stared in the film No More Mr. Nice Guy. In the 1998 film, Run Lola Run, Krol portrayed the homeless man, Norbert von Au. He is also known for playing Hermann van Pels in the TV movie Anne Frank: The Whole Story (2001). He as won 1994 Bavarian Film Awards for Best Actor.

Erika Marozsan as Ilona - A Hungarian Actress. Her father is Hungarian/Armenian and her mother is a Jewish Hungarian. Marozan graduated from the Budapest Academy of Drama and Film in 1995 and then became a member of Uj Szinhaz ("New Theatre") in Budapest.

In addition to Hungarian films, she has also appeared on the HBO hit action thriller, Sniper 2, with Tom Berenger and Bokeem Woodbine, as well as Gloomy Sunday and One Day Crossing, which was nominated for an Oscar in 2001.

Stefano Dionisi as Andras - An Italian Actor. After High School he started taking classes at "la Scaletta" thether in Rome. He debuted in 1986 in a TV movie called "Rose". Since his debut he has appeared in 63 films.

Ben Becker as Hans Wieck - A German film and theatre actor. He is the son of actors, his father played the elder Hans Wieck in Gloomy Sunday. He trained as an actor between 1985 and 1987 in the Berliner Schaubuhne theatre.

He is mostly remembered for his role (1991-1992) as Ferdinand in Schiller's Intrigue and Love at Staatstheater Stuttgart (Stuttgart State Theatre). Later, he worked with the Dusseldorfer Schauspielhaus, and played the role of Tybalt in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in the Deutschen Schauspielhaus in Hamburg.

His first role in cinema was in 1991 in the film Das serbische Madchen. His big break was in 1995 in the film Schlafes Bruder. In 1995 he created his own production of Sid & Nancy with his sister Meret in the main role. Becker is also involved in music and owns a pub, the Trompete, in Berlin/Tiergarten. In 2008 Becker worked with the German band Schiller (band) .

He also won Special Prize at the 1997 Bavarian Film Award.

Movie Trivia

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsan and Stefano Dionisi

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsan and Stefano Dionisi

• The film has been running daily at the Academy Arts Centre Theatre in Christchurch, New Zealand since 2001 - and you still have book in advance because it is sold out (it's shown in a small 11-seat theatre).

Scroll to Continue

• Ben Becker's father, Rolf Becker (also an actor) played Hans Wieck as a 80 years old at the beginning and end of the film.

• It's one of the longest running films along with such films as Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, and Harold and Maude

• The movie ran daily for 70 consecutive weeks at the West Newton Cinema in West Newton, Massachusetts.

What would you rate Gloomy Sunday?

The History of the Song - and the myth surrounding it

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsan

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsan

Gloomy Sunday was composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezso Seress in 1933, as Vege a vilagnak (End of the world). It's alternate is Szomoru Vasarnap (Sad Sunday) lyrics were written by Laszlo Javor. The original lyrics depicted a war-stricken Hungary and a silent prayer to God. Javor's lyrics are a mourning to a lost lover and a pledge to commit suicide to meet said lover again in the afterlife. Javor's lyrics are the ones used in Gloomy Sunday.

Lyrics for Seress' Vege a Vilagnak and literal english translation Here

Lyrics for Javor's Szomoru Vasarnap and literal english translation Here

It has become known as the "Hungarian Suicide Song" because many people have been found dead by means of suicide with this song playing. There are several urban legends about the song. They mostly involve being linked to suicides that the song triggers in people.

It was rumored to have been banned from the radios but that rumor is unsubstantiated. It's also rumored that Seress tried comitted sucide but survived jumping out of a window, but later in the hospital choked himself to death with a wire because of the power of his song. That rumor is not quite true, Seress did commit suicide in 1968 because of depression and trauma from World War II.

The Song was famously cover by Billie Holiday in 1941. The lyrics were based off of Javor's lyrics but an addition verse was added to mitigate the depressing nature of the song.

Gloomy Sunday is a beautiful if sad song.

Covers of Gloomy Sunday - The song have been covered many times by many different artists

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsan and Ben Becker

Gloomy Sunday Erika Marozsan and Ben Becker

1935 - Pál Kalmár (in Hungarian, under title "Szomorú vasárnap" László Jávor lyrics)

1935 - (UK): Paul Robeson (released in the US in 1936; Desmond Carter lyrics)

1935 - Pyotr Leschenko (Russian)

1936 - Damia (in French, under the title "Sombre Dimanche", recorded on February 28, lyrics by Jean Marèze and François-Eugène Gonda, music by Rezso Seress)

1936 - Spree-Revellers (in German, as "Einsamer Sonntag"; Polydor 2293A)

1936 - Noriko Awaya (in Japanese, as "Kurai Nichiyobi")

1937 - Mercedes Simone (in Spanish, as "Triste Domingo" [recorded in Buenos Aires])

1959 - Eila Pellinen (in Finnish as "Surullinen sunnuntai")

1961 - Inger Qvick (in Swedish as "Sista Söndag")

1972 - Viktor Klimenko (in Russian as "Ona pred ikonoi")

1980 - Lydia Lunch

1986 - Christian Death (Atrocities) (Sam M. Lewis, Rezső Seress)

1992 - Diamanda Galás (The Singer) (Desmond Carter lyrics)

1992 - Sinead O'Connor

1996 - Sarah McLachlan (English, using Sam Lewis lyrics. From the "Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff" album)

1998 - Danny Michel (English. From the "Clear" album)

1999 - Heather Nova (English, For the Film, Gloomy Sunday)

2000 - Sarah Brightman (English, using Sam Lewis lyrics. From the "La Luna" album)

2002 - Chae Dong Ha (On his debut album 'Nature')

2005 - Venetian Snares under the Hungarian title "Ãngyilkos vasárnap" (literally meaning 'Suicidal Sunday'), which incorporates a sample of Billie Holiday's 1941 rendition.

2006 - Angéla Póka (live) (performing Szomorú Vasárnap live during Megasztár)

2006 - Claire Diterzi (in French as Sombre dimanche from the "Boucle" album)

2010 - Andrew Veskoukis Overture to Death (in Greek adaptation)

2010 - MiD DERACINE (in Japanese as "SOMBRE DIMANCHE")

2010 - Emilie Autumn (Billie Holliday Lyrics - first 2 verses only.)

Related Articles