A Friendship In Vienna is a 1988 Disney Channel film based on Doris Orgel's popular children's book The Devil in Vienna. The film starred Jane Alexander, Stephen Macht and Edward Asner and premiered August 27, 1988.
Lise Mueller (Kamie Harper) and Inge Dornenwald (Jenny Lewis) are 13-ish year old best friends in Vienna, Austria of 1938, in the months before and during the Anschluss. Lise is Catholic and Inge is Jewish. Trouble comes since Lise's father is a Nazi sympathizer who travels to and from Germany to join the paramilitary Nazi SA upon the upcoming Anschluss, bringing her mother, who is helpless to do anything about it, and her older brother, Heinz, who is himself a Nazi sympathizer like his father. Lise's father forbids Inge to visit them anymore and Inge's parents do likewise with Inge. But they both meet in secret, ex. the large cathedral in Vienna. Despite his opposition to Inge's friendship with Lise, Inge's father, Franz, refuses to believe Hitler would annex Austria and Grandfather Oskar's warnings to apply for immigration quota visas for himself or his family to get them safely out of Austria and out of Europe.
When the Anschluss does happen in March, 1938, Lise's father becomes a high ranking Nazi SA officer, requiring Lise to join a girls Hitler Youth-esqe organization, wear its uniform and attend the upcoming welcoming procession of Hitler to Vienna and give the Sieg Heil salute, while the Nazis start implementing their bigoted laws, ex. removing Jewish teachers from schools, destroying books and other arts materials with non-Aryan characters and publicly humiliating Jewish men by making them wash walls and sidewalks with only their toothbrushes. The schoolbooks in Lise's and Inge's school with its Jewish characters in them are removed and all Jewish students are required to sit in the less desirable back seats of classrooms. Lise decides to sit next to Inge after being told not to and is sadistically beaten by her father for it. Oskar gets his visa for Yugoslavia and leaves. Hannah is fired from her editing job through messenger boy Gustl after 14 years under the claim of "needed cutbacks" and is sure the "Aryanization board" will eventually keep Jews out of all employment to further isolate them from society. Franz also warns Inge that Lise's father is a high ranking Nazi who could permanently end the embarrassment of his "Aryan" daughter being friends with a Jew by having their whole family arrested. Later, Franz is threatened by Gustl with false accusations of "indecorous" (improper) behavior with their Aryan maid, Mitzi, who denies the charges and still enjoys working for them despite the new laws that will soon make such employment illegal, whether she wants to leave or not.
Gustl says he'll "forget" these claims only if the Dornenwalds pay him 10,000 schillings before his scheduled appointment with the "block warden", money that the Dornenwalds don't have despite Nazi propaganda that claims all Jews are rich money hoarders. Later, Franz and Hannah, Inge's mother, are told by the Yugoslav consul in Vienna that it is now required to have been a baptized Christian since 1936 or earlier to enter Yugoslovia and to provide baptismal certificates as proof. The Dornenwalds are now at a loss since even if they could "transform" themselves into Christians, they wouldn't be able to find a priest that would baptize them and predate their certificates to 1936, until Inge tells them about Father Bernard at the cathedral. Bernard hesitates on respective spiritual and legal laws that such a ritual and certification would violate. But Inge convinces him that leaving innocent people in danger would be an even greater violation. The baptism occurs, the Dornenwalds get their visas, and the next day, bid Mitzi farewell and tell her she can have whatever possessions of theirs that she wants, as they can't take them with them and board a train leaving Austria with Gustl and his friends on the trail. Inge says her last goodbye to Lise and gives her a golden Jewish star. Jean Simmons' voiceover ends the film by saying that she (Inge) knew then that they would never see each other again and that while she wrote to Lise often after leaving Austria but never received any responses, she didn't know if it was because Lise's father destroyed Inge's letters when Lise got them or kept her from writing back.
- Jane Alexander ... Hannah Dournenvald
- Edward Asner ... Opah Oskar Reikman
- Natasha Bell ... Anni
- Helen Bourne ... Marianne Lowberg
- Luisa Bradshaw-White ... Herte
- Jeremy Cagan ... Herbert Lowberg
- Magdi Darvas ... Frau Vollmer
- László Dózsa ... Man in Church
- Rosemary Forsyth ... Inge's and Lise's main teacher
- Zoltán Gera ... Building Manager
- Kamie Harper ... Lise Mueller
- John Hartley ... Mueller
- Richard Jaromy ... Heinz
- Kenna Kendall ... Mitzi
- Péter Kertész ... Second SA Officer
- Jeff Kizer ... Gustl
- Jenny Lewis ... Inge Dournenvald
- Stephen Macht ... Franz Dournenvald
- Robert Mackey ... SA Officer (as Robert Jay Mackey)
- Kati Marton ... Frau Mueller (as Katalin Marton)
- Ferdy Mayne ... Father Bernard (as Ferdinand Mayne)
- John Cameron Mitchell ... Tommi Lowberg
- Terence N. Morgan ... Paperboy (as Terence Morgan)
- Zsuzsa Mányai ... Princess Jasmine
- András Márton ... Yugoslav Consul
- Csaba Pethes ... Assistant to Pricess Jasmine
- Ildikó Pécsi ... Frau Krausse
- Robert Revesz ... Heinz's Friend
- Claire Sawyer ... Gerda
- Jean Simmons ... Narrator (voice)
- Anikó Sáfár ... Frau Werner
- Zoe Tahir ... Susi
- ↑ Baron, Lawrence (2005). Projecting the Holocaust Into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema. Rowman & Littlefield, page 173.