She's a winner, Max is a whiner and Jacob's a weiner.
Jenny Jugo was a Teutonic brunette who specialised in light comedy ingenue roles, similar to Deanna Durbin but with less singing. Well into her forties, Jugo exhibited a girlish quality and an easy grace that enabled her to give excellent and believable performances in roles for which she was frankly too old.
'Wer Nimmt die Liebe ernst...' would translate as 'Who holds love earnestly?' The ellipsis in the film's opening credits refers to the fact that this title is also the first line of a song performed during the film. Since there's no question mark here, I wonder if German film producers share the superstition of their Hollywood counterparts, holding that a question mark in a film's title will bring bad luck. (Thus we get movies such as 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' ... in which the title is a question but there's no question mark.)
Handsome Max and clever-clogs Jacob live in Berlin, where they are a couple of ... well, I'm not sure of the Berliner word for these boyos, but in London we'd call them wide boys. A wide boy is a sharp young hustler who usually stays just wide of the law (hence the name): he'll try any money-making dodge that doesn't involve hard work or long hours, and it's only coincidence that most of the jobs in that category are illegal.
After arousing the wrath of the police, Max and Jacob split up and flee in separate directions. With the police closing in on him, handsome Max ducks into a small flat which turns out to be the bedsit of pretty Ilse (Jugo). Just as the two of them are about to 'meet cute', in walks Ilse's landlady (Hedwig Wangel). Finding a man in Ilse's room, this hausfrau jumps to the most obvious conclusion and decides that Ilse is a prostitute. The landlady chucks out Ilse and Max.
Having inadvertently got Ilse evicted, Max decides to make it up to her by taking her to a fun fair (no comment). Max finds himself attracted to Ilse: she, understandably, is annoyed at the trouble he's caused her.
At the fun fair, someone suggests that Ilse should enter the beauty contest which is conveniently just about to start. Ilse is skint and needs money, so she enters the contest hoping to win a useful prize. SPOILERS COMING. Here I should say something about actress Jugo's looks. Although she certainly wasn't ugly, she was only moderately pretty even by the standards of the 1930s. In a beauty contest with a large field of contestants (like the one shown in this movie), it's unlikely that she would have won.
SPOILERS NOW. But win she does, and straight away Ilse is hustled off to a prize-winner's feast. The contest judges glance at Max's shabby clothes, and make it plain he's not welcome to join the feast. Nor does Ilse speak up on his behalf. Max was beginning to hope that Ilse might reciprocate his feelings: now he realises otherwise. And the carnival's band is conveniently playing 'Wer Nimmt die Liebe ernst?', whch Max sorrowfully adopts as his own philosophy.
This movie is froth, so the ending is what you'd expect. Max wanders about Berlin feeling sorry for himself, then eventually returns to his flat ... to find Ilse waiting for him. (If he ever told her his address during the movie's dialogue, I must have missed it in the poor sound recording.) I will cynically point out that Ilse's sudden interest in Max might be down to her no longer having a place to live. I'll rate this movie 6 out of 10, mostly for Jugo's endearing personality, some attractive fun-fair sequences, and a few pleasant tunes.
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