On the Sunny Side

(Auf der Sonnenseite)

GDR, 1961, 97 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Set Design
Costume Design
Music (Score)
Music (Performance)
Production Company


This romantic musical comedy relates the story of the artistically talented steel smelter Martin Hoff, who is expelled from drama school shortly after his arrival. At the farewell party from the school, Hoff meets and is fascinated by a young woman who gives him the cold shoulder instead of succumbing to his bold charm.


Urged onwards by a bet with friends, he manages to find the unknown woman on a construction site. To his amazement, she turns out to be the architect in charge, Ottilie Zinn. Martin has to go to great lengths to get Ottilie's attention through exemplary work and showing off his artistic talents. Finally, he succeeds in winning over the woman he admires and is even allowed to return to drama school.


This film was a star vehicle for Manfred Krug, an actor, singer, writer, and arguably the most popular DEFA star of the 1960s and 1970s. Based on Krug's autobiography as a former steelworker, the film rewrites the genre of the romantic comedy with two ideal-typical socialist workers and, in so doing, promises to reconcile traditional genre conventions, social realist styles, and modernist sensibilities.


1962 Heinrich Greif Prize (Gisela Steineckert, Heinz Kahlau, Ralf Kirsten, Hans Heinrich, Manfred Krug)
1962 Art Prize of the Free German Trade Union (Gisela Steineckert)


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