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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This Bavarian cream is mostly froth.

Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales
25 March 2005

This movie's title translates literally as 'I Know You Not and Love You', but should be rendered as 'I Don't Know You, and Yet I Love You'. Either way, it's froth, German-style: not quite on the level of operetta, but set in that same artificial and twee realm.

This movie is a semi-musical: it likely would have been more enjoyable if it had been done as a full-scale musical. It feels like an operetta, even though there isn't nearly enough singing here to qualify as one. Typically in operettas, the hero is either a struggling composer in his twenties or a successful composer in his thirties. Here we have the latter: Willi Forst portrays a composer who has attained commercial and artistic success, but who is just lately undergoing the musical equivalent of writer's block ... until he sees a magazine photo of the daughter of a wealthy Bavarian family (Magda Schneider).

Her beauty inspires him to compose new melodies. But there's only so much inspiration in a magazine photo. To get to the source of his inspiration, Forst applies for a job as the butler in her parents' mansion. (What's the German for 'Hoo boy'?) Conveniently, her parents are looking to hire a butler. Implausibly, Forst gets the job without any sort of references or screening. I suspect that wealthy Germans in 1934 were very careful about whom they brought into their households as servants, but what do I know? Anyway, the movie tries to get some dramatic and comedic tension out of this contrived situation: Forst is romantically and sexually attracted to Schneider, but she thinks he's a mere lowly servant. Ach du lieber, if only he could tell her that he is a wealthy composer! I was more interested in another conflict here, which the movie barely acknowledges: how will Forst find time to write his melodies whilst employed as a butler?

I'm intrigued that German audiences were watching this sort of thing in 1934, when Hitler was riding a wave of optimism for Germany's economic recovery ... and at a time when his more extreme policies had not yet manifested. I'll rate this froth 3 points out of 10. Do I hear goose-stepping in the distance?

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