Why is “Dinner for One” a tradition in Germany?

The short film, in black and white and in English, Dinner for one (The 90th birthday in German) directed by Heinz Dunkhase has become a German television rite, broadcast every year on the country’s channels on New Year’s Eve.

The first broadcast of this particular meal took place in 1972 on the television channel Norddeutscher Rundfunkand since then Dinner for one captured the hearts of the Germans. This 18 minute (or 11 minute depending on the version) short features only three characters; May Warden plays Miss Sophie, Freddie Frinton for Butler James and finally the narrator Heinz Piper.

Miss Sophie, an old woman of English origin, wants to celebrate her ninetieth birthday surrounded by her childhood friends. However, they are all dead, so James, his butler, will play the role of each of these four friends, who all have a certain characteristic. During this meal, while portraying each character, James will also drink each of their glasses, which will lead him to total intoxication, causing him to constantly trip over the tiger’s head on the carpet.

James stumbles to the mat

The line “Same procedure as every year, James!” ยป has become cult, while the Germans know almost all of them, this one has remained in the annals and embodies the absurdity of the situation: James, as every year, will make sure to play all the guests. Based on rehearsal comedy, this comedy will surely remind you of the essential French cult film: Santa Claus is rubbish !

You should know that this short film is not known by English speakers, while this one is in English. Dinner for one is a classic in the Germanic countries, but also among the Nordics, despite the broadcasting ban in Sweden due to alcohol abuse. After popular pressure on the film’s censorship, the Swedes can finally find it on their screens.

So find James and Miss Sophie on December 31 and discover this classic that makes our German friends laugh so much.

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