Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach

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Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach
Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach - movieposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Otto Preminger
Produced by Otto Preminger
Written by Carl Zuckmayer
Translation of a screenplay by F. Hugh Herbert
Starring Hardy Krüger
Johannes Heesters
Johanna Matz
Music by Herschel Burke Gilbert
Cinematography Ernest Laszlo
Edited by Otto Ludwig
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
June 19, 1953
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language German

Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach (English translation: "The Virgin on the Roof") is a 1953 American comedy film produced and directed by Otto Preminger. The screenplay by Carl Zuckmayer is a German language translation of the script for The Moon is Blue by F. Hugh Herbert, based on his 1951 play.


A comedy of manners, the film centers on virtuous actress Patty O'Neill, who meets playboy architect Donald Gresham on the observation deck of the Empire State Building and accepts his invitation to join him for drinks and dinner in his apartment. There she meets Donald's upstairs neighbors, his ex-fiancée Cynthia and her father, roguish David Slader. Both men are determined to bed the young woman, but they quickly discover Patty is more interested in engaging in spirited discussions about the pressing moral and sexual issues of the day than surrendering her virginity to either one of them. After resisting their amorous advances throughout the night, Patty leaves and returns to the Empire State Building, where Donald finds her and proposes marriage.


Otto Preminger had directed the 1951 Broadway production of F. Hugh Herbert's play The Moon is Blue, and its successful run of 924 performances prompted him to contract with United Artists to finance and distribute a screen adaptation over which he would have complete control. He deferred his producer's and director's salaries in exchange for 75% of the film's profits.[1]

Since Herbert's play had been a huge success in Germany, Preminger decided to film English- and German-language versions simultaneously, using the same sets but different casts. The director estimated this method would increase the filming schedule by only eight to ten days and production costs by only 10 to 15 percent. The budget for both films was $373,445.[2]

After ten days of rehearsals for each of his casts, Preminger began principal photography of both films on January 21, 1953, filming an English language scene and then its German equivalent in quick succession. Johanna Matz and Hardy Krüger, the stars of the German adaptation, briefly appear in the English-language version as the young couple waiting to use the coin-operated telescope at the top of the Empire State Building, cameo roles William Holden and Maggie McNamara of the American cast play in the German version.[3]

In later years, Preminger stated he much preferred The Moon is Blue to Die Jungfrau auf dem Dach because he felt the psychology of the plot did not translate well.[4]



  1. ^ Fujiwara, Chris, The World and Its Double: The Life and Work of Otto Preminger. New York: Macmillan Publishers 2009. ISBN 0-86547-995-X, pp. 140-142
  2. ^ The World and Its Double, p. 143
  3. ^ The World and Its Double, p. 145
  4. ^ The World and Its Double, p. 145

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