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Berlin-Alexanderplatz - Die Geschichte Franz Biberkopfs (1931)

Franz Biberkopf has served four years in prison. His return to normal life is not successful.

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(novel), | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Maria Bard ...
Margarete Schlegel ...
Sonja / Mieze
Bernhard Minetti ...
Gerhard Bienert ...
Klempner-Karl
Albert Florath ...
Paul Westermeier ...
Henschke
Oskar Höcker
Hans Deppe ...
Gast bei Henschke
Käthe Haack ...
Schwester Paula
Julius Falkenstein ...
Dieb
Jakob Tiedtke ...
Gast bei Henschke
Siegfried Berisch
Arthur Mainzer
Karel Stepanek
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Storyline

Franz Biberkopf has served four years in prison. His return to normal life is not successful. The thug Reinhold wants Biberkopf to join his gang. When that fails, Reinhold involves him against his will in a crime. While Franz protest to this, Reinhold pushes him out of the car. Franz is seriously injured and loses an arm. After his recovery, he works voluntarily for Reinhold. For a short time Franz lives a life of luxury. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

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based on novel | See All (1) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

19 October 1931 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Berlin-Alexanderplatz  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Tobis-Klangfilm)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Menschen am Montag
18 October 2008 | by (Konstanz, Germany) – See all my reviews

When one director needs over 15 hours to enact a novel, it is mathematically evident that you can pack less of a tenth of that in under 90 minutes. A tour de force, a highly compressed "reader's digest" (but the novel's author Alfred Döblin also collaborated on the movie script). And also, a "Heinrich George against the rest of the world" show, if you wish.

Still, it sometimes takes a few seconds, in an otherwise tight plot, to linger on details that don't "drive" the story, but maybe that's why they stand out more in memory after watching this film. The scene where the just married couple walks from their carriage to the wedding party. Or when Reinhold drops his pen as Franz storms into his back room - that was strong cinematography in a split-second. Or the bathing scene at a lake, which has nothing to do with the personae, but offers a glimpse at a sign that proclaims triangular bathing trunks forbidden (the shape of bath-wear was indeed a hotly debated topic, up to the parliament, in 1930s' Germany).

And that scene instantly reminded me of the classic "Menschen am Sonntag" (1930, Billie Wilder, Fred Zinnemann, the Siodmak brothers and more, an early "independent" production which also features mass transit and lakeside bathing in Berlin). However, its story is harmless and relatively sweet. "Berlin - Alexanderplatz" in some way continues from there and shows deeper trouble in the big city, criminals, burglary, murder, the (not terribly strong) action of the law...

Another detail that I enjoyed: outside the courtroom, witnesses discuss: "Did you take an oath? How?" - "Oh, only worldly" (i.e. omitting the religious part). - "Ah, then it's OK".

The German Arthaus Collection/Spiegel DVD comes with an in-depth documentary on Heinrich George's life, from communist to Nazi supporter to Soviet prisoner, with interviews with his two sons (Jan and Götz George), which I also found very worth watching.


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