A group of German infantrymen of the First World War live out their lives in the trenches of France. They find brief entertainment and relief in a village behind the lines, but primarily ... See full summary »
Vienna in the biggest depression, directly after WW1. In a slum, Lila Leid, the wife of lawyer Leid is murdered, Egon, secretary of one of Leid's clients is arrested. He was with her, and ... See full summary »
Antinea. the Queen of Atlantis, rules her secret kingdom hidden beneath the Sahara Desert. One day two lost explorers stumble into her kingdom, and soon realize that they haven't really ... See full summary »
Two soldiers--searching the Sahara for Atlantis--are captured by raiders from the lost city. They are taken before its beautiful queen who has over 50 mummified ex-lovers! What follows is ... See full summary »
In Spain, in the sixteenth century, an elderly gentleman named Don Quixote has gone mad from reading too many books on chivalry. Proclaiming himself a knight, he sets out with his squire, ... See full summary »
Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Feodor Chaliapin Sr.,
In the Crimea, the Reds and the Whites aren't done fighting, and Jeanne discovers that the man she loves is a Bolshevik (when he kills her father). Penniless, she returns to Paris where she... See full summary »
In London at the turn of the century, the bandit Mack the Knife marries Polly without the knowledge of her father, Peachum, the 'king of the beggars'. Written by
Brian rawnsley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This adaptation of Brecht/Weill's Musikspiel is considered by many a classic masterpiece. Classic it may be (and as such historically important), but a masterpiece it is not. I am not interested in the changes vis-a vis the play: recent research has found out that most changes were already proposed by Brecht himself and other research has found out that Brecht was not the writer at all, but Elisabeth Hauptmann. Nor am I interested in the fact that Weill's music is reduced and that not all songs are performed, which was unavoidable.
The point is that although there was real potential for a masterpiece (set designer, cast, director, cameraman etc.), Pabst never succeeds in making this adaptation into a real filmic adaptation. Scenes are presented in order, but never there is a feeling of a close and tightly held drama; the film is more or less subdivided. This may have been on purpose (considering the structure of the play), but for me it just does not work as film. It seems if no real choice was made between a documentation of the play or a truly filmic adaptation; what we are left with is something that lies in between, and that never comes alive. Are we seeing the result of all the (judicial) troubles director and writers had with Brecht and Weill? Or were the makers just too involved in making a masterpiece?
So, is this a mediocre or even bad picture? Certainly not. Individual scenes are fine due to sets and cast and the way in which Wagner and Pabst know how to use them (no room here to analyze this). But, on the other hand: do we really see or feel a menacing threat from the army of beggars? Do we really need Ernst Busch as the street singer?; do his scenes really add something? And are most songs not just registered as if they were performed on a stage? And is the editing not just adequate?
Today was my 5th or 6th viewing. I still cannot see why this film ever could be acclaimed a masterpiece.
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