Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
One of the problems with watching a German film is that occasionally plot points get past me and it took about fifteen minutes' discussion with other people at the Museum of Modern Art this evening to figure out the girl that Willy Fritsch falls in love with isn't the English banker's daughter.
This starts off very well, with some lovely, absurd tropes of the recently impoverished rich, as men emerge from the tax office in silk hats and underwear. Willy Fritsch, the painter nephew of one of these gentlemen, is staying at the family Schloss painting an advertising poster for a hotel when someone thinks it's a poster for the schloss and hey presto, he and his valet are in the hotel business.
The movie contains liberal sprinklings of healthy young women practicing their chorus dances in far too little clothing in the Bavarian snows; a couple of songs; some door-slamming bedroom farce and every lovely young thing anxious for the charms of Willy Fritsch, who seems to have had a major role in every one of the Weimar Era series at MOMA except M and VIKTOR UND VIKTORIA. There are also two fine comic performances: Rosi Barsony as the predatory blonde who's after Willy, and Max Adalbert as Willy's unflappable valet. But in trying to do too much, it does nothing particularly well, making it a decent but not remarkable comedy.
The director of this film is Kurt Gerron, one of the Jewish directors who went on the run after the Nazis took over. He was captured in 1943, made to direct a propaganda film to demonstrate how well the Nazis treated the Jews and, when it was finished, so was he. He was shipped to Auschwitz where he died in 1944.
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