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Georg Wilhelm Pabst
A old German mine was split in two after the end of WWI because of the new border. In the Frenchpart a fire breaks out. The German minwers send a rescue group in, helping their French comrades. A group of three old German miners, who where not treaten friendly at a French inn the night before, start their private rescue through an old way, where since 1919 the border is. After all survivors are rescued, there's a big party with speeches about friendship between Frensh and Germans, while border police closes the old way in the mine. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The movie was filmed in the narrow transitional sound ratio of 1.20-1, but, at least in the case of the Janus video release telecast on Turner Classic Movies, has been converted to the standard 1.37-1 ratio with the result that the players' heads are cut off either partially or completely in many of the key scenes. In the final sequence, the heads of the speakers are completely cut off. See more »
The special effects are top notch, very superior to the Hollywood standards of its time (just compare this film to "San Francisco", made five years later). Most reviewers write about how realistic this film is, but the mine interior was entirely recreated in studio. And it looks like a real claustrophobic coal mine. Amazing! Technically it is superb. About the story and the message a lot has been said, so no need to repeat how good and necessary this film was. I saw it with the epilogue sequence included. Sad end, but it is realistic in this point too. Good intentions meet the old dark forces. Just read Oscar Wilde's "The young king". Its end is even more pessimistic. At least, Pabst opens a door to fight and hope. The closed frontier is only an advice: beware! the fight won't be easy.
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