Two miles north of Remagen of the B9 a narrow road leads into a little valley, called Calmuth Valley.
The present condition of the buildings can hardly even imagine what ambitious plans should be realized here again, a "film city in the West," which would have been classified in the tradition of the cities of Munich and Berlin Film.
The origins of the film Union goes back over 50 years in the period immediately after the Second World War. Unlike the British and American occupation zones were located in the French zone, no significant film production facilities.
There was, however, on the French side firmly believes that the medium of cinema is a very suitable tool for the reeducation of the German population. Sun was commissioned shortly after the establishment of the zone of occupation, the French film officer Marcel Colin Reval to carry out an overall concept. This should take into account not only the synchronization of French films, but also for the construction or rehabilitation of large cinemas, including the training of projectionists, the entire support, promote and realize their own film production and the construction and distribution of cinematographic apparatus and article (film processing equipment, cutting tables, etc rewinder .).
As a connoisseur of German film and cinema industry and on the basis of his technical knowledge in relevant fields produced film Colin Reval a comprehensive model. The former, for the period to be classified as downright visionary character of the model can accurately with the new German concept of "competence center called" saw it but the establishment of a sound film production with three warehouses, should emerge from the annual 3 to 5 movies, a film printing lab, and a complete studio complex, consisting of workshops with all the necessary synchronization workshops, magazines, and ancillary, auxiliary, and the establishment of complementary raumnahe film companies before.
Remagen that ultimately won the award as the location of this project has among others a political background. On the French side would already be set with the selection of the premises a clear signal: by a once-used by the Nazis building was the proverbial "fresh wind blowing." The property in the Calmuth (formerly owned by the deceased in 1932 secretly Commerzienrates and Cologne industrialist Max belonging by Guillaume), met these "requirements", but had been housed there until the war ended a BDM-Rural Women’s Financial School and previously the "Hitler Youth".
But even purely practical considerations played a role in decision making. For the implementation of planning a large area was needed, while the property but had a quiet and secluded enough to be located, in particular to pay special attention to the tone in the photographs. Remagen also spoke of its close location to the Rhine cities of Bonn, Cologne and Dusseldorf, on the basis of the local theater scene was hoped to stimulate an easier commitment of actors and stage staff. The traffic-favorable location was another issue: was originally planned, even the connection of the railway station on its own means of production sites (in fact later trains for urgent deliveries film unscheduled stop in Remagen).
With the founding of the Film Union A.-G., in Baden-Baden (March 8, 1947) and the lease of the estate Calmuth valley of the same (11 March 1947) the implementation of the overall concept was carried out under the leadership of the "UGC" (Union Général Cinématographique) and the direct control of the official French film office (Center Nationale de la Cinematographie).
Main units – The synchronization studio:
The construction of the studio in synchronization Calmuth (May 1946-September 1948) succeeded to the workers, artisans, engineers and architects, despite the difficult conditions by the time material procurement to build an architectural masterpiece, At the time, which was a pioneering in many areas.
The heart of the studio is the large reception hall, which is mainly for music and voice recordings with crowd scenes and demonstrations against a larger audience, and mixtures were used. Ceiling and floor are not parallel to each other and are even with different coating. The floor "floats", so the whole room hangs in complete isolation, and thus eliminates any unwanted background noise (especially important with regard to the explosions in nearby quarries Unkelbach). Even an orchestra of 50 musicians in a forte passage in the music or just above create the building thundering jet fighter not help but tip the acoustics. A 10 x 7 m wide, with a screen wall of the hall closes on the front page. As this wall can even move may be the space around two fifths of its Reduce length Shrouded. supervised by this studio, the engineer behind a glass wall three times in total acoustic isolation, the spoken text and sound sections – even a gun shot in the studio would not be heard without a corresponding transfer of funds for the sound engineer.
Other studios are used for voice and sound synchronization, and for comments or overdubs. In addition, there is a completely acoustically "dead" space, called the speaker space. Here texts were spoken to film scenes that played in the open and thus the illusion of a speech nachhalllosen required. The so-called, (pronounced asymmetry in all the walls are not parallel to each other ) scale and very smart, reverberation chamber is the exact opposite klangmäßig and resembles a church.
In planning and equipment, particular emphasis was placed on quality, so there is in all rooms the same high-quality, film-and sound-engineering, and for those days very user-friendly equipment. But also on the working atmosphere has been thought: A comfortable and elegant living room for the actors of the production, full air conditioning of the building, an elaborate system of entrances and exits (without disturbing the recording in the studios, it is possible, the other areas of the building reach) and a casino with a bar allowed to work in a pleasant atmosphere.
Planned for 1949 recording facilities and all other phases were not achieved for reasons of cost, so the buildings now on the IFU beside the synchronization and recording studio as the main area (here housed the studios, editing rooms, demonstrations, and the administration) nor the so-called Castle ( In the vast spaces and the entire floor copy center, a casino for the service members and some staff housing are located) and some outbuildings and others (for workshops, garages, movie bunker, transformer station, its own pump and water facilities and other employees were among the flats) for sale.
From 1947 to 1950 was located in the immediate neighborhood, located directly above the Rhine Castle Ernich also owned by the IFU to the actors in special accommodation in an idyllic atmosphere where you have accommodated hotel’s operations. In 1950, the High Kommisar André François took – finally Poncet Castle Ernich consuming and thus deprived it of the film Union.
Likewise, in Baden-Baden based technical department of the film Union (UNITEK) and Filmvorführerschule (in Eich near Worms), immediately after Remagen, first in the so-called former "Marist schools" (now owned by the Federal Armed Forces), translocated.
Later, the UNITEK was housed in the mechanical workshops in the farm buildings in Calmuth which Filmvorführerschule closed.
The first dubbed in French Calmuth Prokutionen were FABIOLA with Michèle Morgan in the title role, THE Charterhouse of Parma, VIEW OF DARKNESS, THE FANS, PANIC, ANTOINE AND ANTOINETTE, the Jean-Paul Sar-tre-film THE GAME IS THAT SILENCE IS GOLD and THE GREAT LOVE with Gisela Uhlen, directed by Hans Bertram.
Due to continuous expansion and upgrading of equipment and the commitment outstanding professionals developed the ITU as one of the most famous West German film companies for all types of settings synchronization and so the catchy logo "ITU-Remagen was" quickly becoming a term for high quality, particularly in relation the "lip sync" (ie, the new text fits exactly with the lip movements of the actors) in the original version.
Since the founding of ITU more than 800 feature films were dubbed, including French and Italian and American productions, such as The Wages of Fear, Don Camillo, and Laurel and Hardy, have the unabated until the present day popularity.
Leafing through the extensive documentation of the film Union, one finds in the synchronization list many beautiful names from the world of film and television: Hans-Joerg Felmy, Hildegard Knef, René Deltgen, Romy Schneider, Lotti Krekel, or Harald Juhnke Fritz Wepper, to name a few. It can only be guessed more than that welcome addition to the heydays of the IFU, the actor for the urban affairs in Remagen, and the coverage in the local press represented. Were particularly popular among the population of the Remagen also held every year at carnival time film balls "- where the participants in the big studio film atmosphere could sniff" live ".
Over the range of synchronization, the IFU produced in Remagen facilities since the early 50’s the newsreel "View of the World". This set up the full introduction of television is for many people the only way to get in the cinema on world events to check visually.
Since the early 70s were observed in the IFU culture increasingly translated into various foreign languages and documentaries, among others were commissioned by the Foreign Office, and especially "InterNationes." In French, English, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, sometimes even by those original television then abroad, including productions such as eg 1000 MASTERPIECES or SESAM STREET (some) among other titles.
The work in the Tonateliers was effectively complemented by an efficient printing lab for 35 – and 16-mm films.
Originally planned as a separate building right next to the synchronization studio, was the copying since 1948 in the former castle. The IFU presented at this time with a capacity of 600,000 m film per year, but only the third largest film laboratory of the Western occupation zones were present, but as most modern works first and foremost to work again in a position to "vorkriegsmäßiger quality".
After introduction of the Security Act of 1957 film footage was allowed to nitrocellulose base because of its demonstrated fire and explosion hazard no longer be used. Only a few German film companies, including the ITU, received after a thorough examination of strict security requirements of the exemption, national and non-nitrate film stock (productions from previous years in the field of play and store documentaries and newsreels), to then gradually to fireproof, so called Safety Material umzukopieren.
Despite the match, the safety standards, but it came on 27 September 1965 at a critical event in the history: A film caused by spontaneous combustion of nitro explosion destroyed on that day an entire bunker complex, and a valuable part of the film material stored there – the damage here in the millions, people did not come to harm.
Was the Umkopierung of nitro on safety equipment to protect important film material (including film classics such as the Western Front or CASABLANCA) on behalf of the Federal Archives in Koblenz, the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation in Wiesbaden, and other film companies up to the 90s into the main task of the ITU – a task which is to assess in retrospect as receiving valuable cultural heritage.
The International Film Union GmbH still exists, however limited their scope now, after the setting of the film dubbing and copying, on how to manage the storage of film rights, or film. To receive regular requests too black and white films, which may, based on the extensive archives and the expertise of two to be answered on a volunteer basis working employees.
In December 2008 the Bonn "solar king" Frank Asbeck bought the property. Asbeck, avid hunter would, to expand the building into a lodge and walk in the woods surrounding the hunt, they said. Then he would also run forestry, he was anxious to write about the 20 acres of the former film-Union also purchase additional forest land to the Rhein-Zeitung on 16 December. After it was closed with a private forest owners already have a purchase agreement for 100 hectares, had also asked the City Council Asbeck Remagen. From the city he wanted to acquire an additional 100 hectares of forest at the head Scheid.