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Edgar G. Ulmer
Edwin, a taxi driver, lives with Annie, a neurasthenic model. They plan to spend Sunday at the Nikolassee beach with Wolfgang, an officer, gentleman, antiquarian, gigolo, at the moment a wine salesman. After an argument, Annie stays at home while Edwin joins Wolf. Wolf has brought along a new girlfriend, Christl. Brigitte, Christl's best friend, joins the group. Brigitte is the manager of a record shop. At the beach Wolf tries to kiss Christl but she rejects him and he turns his attentions toward Brigitte, who is more receptive. Wolf and Brigitte go off together and he seduces her. Back on the beach, Wolf and Erwin, now tired of their dates, flirt with two other women as Brigitte and Christl look on, appalled. They have small satisfaction when the men have to borrow money from them to pay for the paddle-boat they were renting. As they part at the end of the day, Brigitte hopes Wolf will see her next Sunday, but he and Erwin have other plans. The bond between the two men is the one ... Written by
Fascinating Silent Drama Depicting Berlin in the pre-Hitler Era
Directed by Robert and Curt Siodmak from a screenplay by Billy Wilder, and with the participation of Edgar G. Ulmer, MENSCHEN AM SONNTAG is a drama filmed over four Sundays in 1929, involving a series of young men and women who flirt with one another, spend time at the beach, enjoy the pleasures of the recreational areas in and around Berlin, and resolve to meet the next Sunday. The plot is gossamer-thin, involving a series of sensual encounters between the semiprofessional actors; the camera focuses on their lips, their bodies and their clothing. Even in the most mundane situations there can be some kind of sexual exchange. More interestingly, the film offers fascinating glimpses of Berlin in the pre-Hitler era; the gorgeous eighteenth and nineteenth century architecture; the laid-back lifestyle of a people living their leisure time to the full; the camera pans of the stores, including a surfeit of Jewish businesses; and the teeming beaches and streets full of people blissfully unaware of what was to follow in the next decade. The film is almost prelapsarian in tone, portraying a world upon which - to use a term familiar in another socio-historical context - the sun appeared never to set.
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