THE NEW LINE FILM SERIES PRESENTS MACK THE KINFE (1989) BASED ON THE THREEPENNY OPERA WEDS, JUNE 17, 2020, 7:00 P.M. MARCELLE THEATER, 3310 SAMUEL SHEPHERD DR DURING THE RUN OF NEW LINE'S URINETOWN TICKETS $10,
THE NEW LINE FILM SERIES PRESENTS
MACK THE KINFE (1989)
BASED ON THE THREEPENNY OPERA
WEDS, JUNE 17, 2020, 7:00 P.M.
MARCELLE THEATER, 3310 SAMUEL SHEPHERD DR
DURING THE RUN OF NEW LINE’S URINETOWN
TICKETS $10, AT THE DOOR ONLY
STARRING RAUL JULIA, ROGER DALTREY, RICHARD HARRIS, JULIE WATERS, JULIA MIGENES, CLIVE REVILL. DIRECTED AND WRITTEN BY MENAHEM GOLAN, BASED ON THE THREEPENNY OPERA BY BERTOLT BRECHT AND KURT WEILL. 120 MINUTES.
Scoundrel, liar, thief, murderer… They all loved Mack.
Before there was Urinetown, before Cabaret or Sweeney Todd or Hamilton, there was this dark, comic masterpieces of the art form, Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s world-famous musical comedy thriller, The Threepenny Opera. Urinetown’s aggressive, confrontational roots are surely found in Brecht and Weill’s iconic show, retitled for this film version.
Like its source, Mack the Knife focuses on the career criminal Macheath who plans to marry the innocent Polly, daughter to Mr. Peachum, the King of the Beggars, all with the help of Mack’s old army buddy, Chief of Police Tiger Brown. So Peachum threatens to organize London’s beggars to ruin Queen Victoria’s coronation unless Brown arrests and hangs Macheath. Of course, at the last minute, the Queen pardons Mack, makes him a Baron, and bestows a lifetime pension on him. Lots of darkly comic double crosses and skullduggery combine into a scathing indictment of the dishonesty and cruelty of “polite society.”
The movie, set in the streets of London at the time of Queen Victoria’s coronation, tells the story of the poor and desperate people who formed the London underclass: the beggars, the prostitutes, the homeless, and the criminals. The underworld is ruled by the enigmatic Capt. MacHeath, aka Mack the Knife, who is attracted to the Peachum’s ripe young daughter, Polly. Their marriage causes war on the streets of London, as the Peachums oppose Mack and the riffraff of London chooses sides.
Brecht surely would have enjoyed Mack the Knife, despite the changes, because the entire movie is an alienating device, keeping us constantly aware that we are watching a movie. By mixing the realistic with the theatrical, the film left many critics confused and uncomfortable, which made them hostile. But after all, isn’t that really the point of Threepenny…?
The Marcelle Theater is at, 3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, three blocks east of Grand, in the Grand Center Arts District. Tickets are available at the door ONLY. Tickets are $10 for all seats, no discounts. There is a small parking lot directly across the street from the theatre, and lots of free street parking. Click here for directions. All programs subject to change. The New Line Film Series is curated by Brian Claussen.
More info about the film series at
More info about New Line’s production of Urinetown at
New Line TheatreNew Line was created to involve the people of the St. Louis region in the creation and exploration of provocative, alternative, politically and socially relevant works of musical theatre – daring, muscular, intelligent theatre about politics, race, violence, drugs, sexuality, religion, art, obscenity, the media, and other contemporary issues. And a lot of four-letter words. And every now and then, a little nudity. And lots of rock and roll.
(Wednesday) 7:00 pm
3310 Samuel Shepard Dr. St. Louis, MO 63103