When this Herr Graf was a young and imaginative kinder, his grandfather used to tell him a strange story in order to get his attention and in this way calm down his childish whims. If this Herr Graf remembers well, this is the way the story goes:
Once upon a time there was a young common fraulein who did what common people do best; that is to say, work a lot without complaining and with no reward; Aschenputtel ( Frau Helga Thomas ) -that's the name of the young fraulein, Cinderella in Germany- has no mother although her father married again, this time to a foul tempered, wicked woman with two cruel daughters of her own.
In the land in where they lived, there was a prince ( Herr Paul Hartmann ) who, besides being charming, was an idealist and romantic and believer in true love!; The prince's father decides to give an aristocratic ball in order that his son forget such bizarre thoughts. The King invites the many frauleins of the kingdom hoping that the prince can find a decent ( or something like that ) aristocrat fraulein and marry her.
Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters don't allow her to go to the ball ( Cinderella's father disagrees but, as usually happen with middle class people, men do what their wives order them to do ) but Cinderella has a fairy-godmother ( Frau Frida Richard ) who will use her tricks to enable Cinderella to attend.
Thanks to the fairy-godmother's abilities, Cinderella goes to the ball beautifully dressed and in a luxury carriage but the fact that Cinderella attends the ball alone (something polite young frauleins simply don't do) shows that the fairy-godmother has neglected to teach her proper manners. Anyway, Cinderella is warned that she must get home before the clock strikes 12; this indicates that the fairy-godmother don't know aristocratic habits at all because it is from that hour on when fun begins.
Well, Cinderella certainly has a great time at the ball with the idealist prince who falls madly in love with her, but when the clock strike 12 she leaves the palace in a hurry, losing one of her slippers. The prince, now besides being idealistic and lovesick -certainly a dangerous combination--decides to find the mystery maiden by locating and agreeing to marry the girl whose foot fits in the slipper. This is a terrible decision that indicates the prince's deranged state of mind.
And this story, more or less with some variations , is the one that Herr Ludwig Berger depicts in his film "Der Verlorene Schuh" (1923), a delightful picture wherein the German director transfers the spirit and romanticism of such a classic story to the silent screen in a delicious way, using charming and resourceful special effects and décors. Thanks to films like this, the common people continue to believe in fairy tales.
And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must tell a tall tale to one to his Teutonic rich heiresses.
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