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If anybody would like to hear Anton Walbrook speaking in (his native ?!) Austrian accent I recommend this movie. Here Anton Walbrook very convincingly portrays the Budapest taxi driver Fred Sponer. He is a mischievous,ill-humoured, bad-tempered (granteln), sometimes too simple minded almost stupid member of the lower classes, toiling his day away, having high aspirations but with no hope of changing his situation. This character gets tangled up in a jealousy drama involving the famous conductor Montemayor, his wife and of course Jack Mortimer, who gets murdered on the backseat of Sponer's taxi on his arrival in Budapest. How his simple mindedness gets Fred Sponer ever deeper into a fix is shown in this very delicious movie I highly recommend. The script is very well-done and written by Thea von Harbou. A very deserved ten out of ten from me!!!
Anton Walbrook -- still credited as "Adolph" -- is driving his taxicab
for his last shift in Budapest before taking a better-paying job. He
picks up a fare at the train station,but when he asks which hotel, he
discovers that his passenger has been shot.
This sort of thriller was becoming popular in the movies. Hitchcock's efforts like THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH and LADY ON A TRAIN set the standard. This German variation, co-written by Thea von Harbau, is much more gloomy and Teutonic than Hitchcock's saturnine works and the answer to the mystery is clear before it takes place. It's seventy-five minutes of bombastic anger and fear. If that's your taste, you'll enjoy it. Me, I grew up with Hitchcock's works and I prefer his vicious comic relief.
I've seen some of Walbrook's movies shot in in Vienna in the early 1930s. Soon after this, he moved to England, where he worked under the name of Anton -- Adolf wasn't that popular name in Britain starting in 1939 -- where he specialized in kindly, cynical, world-weary Germans and resumed a wider range when he returned to Continental work after the War. He's good here, but it's a role that a lot of actors could have played well.
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