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Emil and the Detectives (1935)

Erich Kästner's beloved novel has been adapted for film or television six times since its publication in 1929; this 1935 British version was the first in English. Believed lost for decades,... See full summary »

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(adaptation), (dialogue) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Williams ...
...
The Man In The Bowler Hat - Sam Pinker
...
Clare Greet ...
Grandma
George Merritt ...
PC
Marion Foster ...
Polly
Donald Pittman ...
Gussy
Robert Rietty ...
Professor (as Bobby Rietti)
John Singer ...
...
Jerry
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Storyline

Erich Kästner's beloved novel has been adapted for film or television six times since its publication in 1929; this 1935 British version was the first in English. Believed lost for decades, it was recently rediscovered by the BFI and has now been restored. The film moves the action from Berlin to London, where Emil goes to stay with his grandmother and cousin. Thereafter, the tale of Emil's adventures with a gang of streetwise London children faithfully follows the original plot.

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Genres:

Adventure | Family

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Release Date:

14 April 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Emil  »

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Technical Specs

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| (DVD)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title screen on the surviving 16mm print actually reads "Emil and the Detective". See more »

Goofs

(at around 27 mins) "The Man In The Bowler Hat"/Sam Pinker gets in a taxi, and when it drops him off at his hotel, the registration is ALN 287. A couple of minutes later, ALN 287 reappears behind Polly and "The Flying Stag" as they cycle and scoot respectively along the Embankment. See more »

Connections

Version of Emil und die Detektive (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very faithful remake
23 September 2014 | by (Scotland) – See all my reviews

A classic story which needs little description of context and plot - the other reviewer has covered this. Good fun today although early dream sequence is surprisingly scary for its intended audience of the time and the footage of Emil flying round iconic London locations was a clear inspiration for some Mary Poppins sequences.

Also very interesting to watch it back-to-back with the 1931 German original (as packaged together on the 2013 BFI DVD release). The UK version is much more than a relocated remake - it attempts to be a near exact replica of so many elements. The music is reused, the dialogue is exactly the same underneath the translation, all the studio sets are designed to look identical and are filmed from the same positions, the characters all perform the same actions in the same sequence and wear almost identical clothes. The relocation from Berlin to London for the main story clearly prevents much scenic replication (although street furniture such as news-stand, outdoor café etc are used in identical fashion), and the early sequences in Emil's village contain the same motifs (eg windmill, formal garden round statue in park) to reinforce the replication. But if you watch the UK version in its own right, none of this recreation looks forced or artificial - which is probably a tribute to how well the German original was produced.


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