'So, You Don't Know Korff Yet?' is a low-budget comedy, made in Germany during the Third Reich but largely free of Nazi agitprop. It's an amusing film, with an interesting depiction of Hollywood-style gangsters as imagined by Germans.
Vermeylen is a wealthy Dutch art collector, who lives in Amsterdam with his pretty daughter Dortje. Three crooks conspire to steal one of his paintings. The crooks are played by German actors but are apparently meant to be American gangsters (Morton and Kelly) with a French toff (DuFour) as their leader. Kelly is played by the great German actor Fritz Rasp, who must have felt he was slumming in this movie. These 'gangsters' are utterly unrealistic, but no more so than some of the gangster characters in Hollywood films of this era.
Into this umlaut-fest arrives Niels Korff, one of those implausible fictional characters who could never exist in real life. Korff is a hugely successful author of detective novels who amuses himself as a flautist, but who acquires material for his novels by working (in real life) as an amateur detective! That blurry object whizzing past you is this movie's plausibility, vanishing into the distance. Korff takes it upon himself to save the Vermeylens and their painting. He is aided in this endeavour by two bumbling private detectives: van Gaalen and Schimmelpennick (the latter's name is funnier than her performance).
I have a low opinion of German attempts at humour, so I was pleasantly surprised that this movie is actually fairly successful in blending intentional comedy with some genuine suspense during the heist sequences. The interplay of eyeballs between Korff and Dortje makes it obvious how this movie will end ... but we have some fun getting there. I found this plot line utterly unbelievable, yet that didn't stop me from enjoying it. I'm vaguely astonished that such a light-hearted trifle could have been confected during the Third Reich, yet this movie is very much in the spirit of the screwball comedies that Hollywood was making at this time ... not *as good* as those films, mind you, but in that same spirit all the same. The music in a nightclub sequence is good, too. I'll rate this movie 7 out of 10. I wish the Third Reich had devoted more resources to turning out pleasant froth like this, instead of their more regrettable enterprises.
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