Patriotism in a Tight Black Uniform and High Peaked Cap
The story is light and flimsy as Captain Hansgeorg von Hochsberg (Conrad Veidt) and his sidekick Leiut. Aribert von Blome, nicknamed Bubi (Wolf Albrech-Retty), ride through the beautiful German countryside, romancing Marie-Luise (Maddy Christians) and Brigitte (Ursula Grabley) and engaging in friendly banter, whilst outwitting and comically foiling the Russians and the French. The Russians are portrayed as loud, hot-tempered and arrogant, whilst the French are reduced to buffoons and sinister types. The comedy is played broadly without too much subtlety as pomposity is lampooned in a variety of ways from the Russian Prince Petrovsky (Gregori Chmara) being deprived of his trousers, to the fat, food obsessed French Governor Darmont (Otto Wallburg) attempting to ingratiate himself with Petrovsky who is actually Hochsberg in disguise! The Germans, of course, are portrayed as hearty, duty bound and heroic.
Conny cuts a dashing and handsome figure on his black horse in his tight black uniform and high peaked cap despite the bizarre hair beneath. He throws himself into the role of Hansgeorg von Hochberg with gusto as he romps through the comedy and roughly romances Marie-Luise whilst projecting an air of cultured authority and loyalty to his duty. He handles his horse with necessary firmness and displays his riding ability, although a double is used for the chase sequence at the beginning (and Conny is clearly saddle sore as he dismounts and greets Potrovsky!) He thoroughly enjoys the comedic moments and mercilessly scene steals at every opportunity particularly the scene with Darmont where he uses his white gloves and monocle to great effect. His romancing of Marie-Luise is abrupt as he passionately grabs the lady and presses his firm kisses upon her, she naturally objects before laughing and melting into his arms. A Germanic cliché perhaps, but heartfluttering for certain ladies. There is no great acting involved he is dashing and handsome, charming and authoritative, a little roguish but ultimately heroic
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