This is a remarkable comedy; not a forgotten masterpiece, but very well made and relaxed comedy in which not a moment is wasted; simply huge fun. Erich Engel directs with a pleasantly quiet and steady hand and has a very good feeling for timing. It stars (top billing) Jenny Jugo, a now forgotten actress of the German cinema of the 30's and 40's, displaying here all her comic and acting talents in her subtle movements and gestures and her brilliant handling of the dialogue; her prominent eyes are hypnotizing and in this film she is constantly in a hilarious fight with a lock of hair that falls in her face when ever she is excited or angry. The comedy Jugo conveys, is the human comedy of Engel: this is their 10th film (out of 11) together.
The script is intelligent; though it tells the often told tale "Man wants woman and v.v.", there are features here that make it fresh and noteworthy. It portrays a woman (Elisabeth) that keeps her own independent position in a man's world (school, later university); Elisabeth also keeps this position towards her suitor Karl: she wants him (that is clear from the start), but not as the macho he is: he must change and abide to her to be acceptable for her. She has constantly the stronger character and he seems to loose all the time. To make things worse: she causes him to fall and to get his leg broken, upon which she is given the opportunity to temporarily take over his job, thereby invading and, as it turns out, overtaking his world. This game (and long flirt) has only one winner: Elisabeth. She has the upper hand all through the film, not only towards the suitor, but also towards all other men; by the way: she is the only woman in this film.
The script makes both a teaching mathematician, and of course this has to be interpreted as: both are logical thinkers and every move they make is a calculated one. Again it is Elisabeth who is the winner: she knows to combine her rational thinking with emotion and feelings, while her suitor remains antagonistic towards feelings - as the macho he is. And this is the crux: only when her suitor shows understanding of her feelings and capabilities as a human being and begins to respect her as a independently thinking woman, she lets him have her. Crucial is the scene in which he admits that he is impressed by her and tells that until now he was afraid (he says: "I did not think much of women who impressed me"), though it should be stressed that he can not know that she does not hear a word he is saying.
So, what are we seeing here? Certainly not the standard Nazi ideological woman type: when Karl says "Kleines Mädchen" to Elisabeth, he is reprimanded: no such silly nonsense with her. On the other hand, there is never a sign that she has capricious moments in her life: she takes her work seriously and there is no room for other things. Still, it is he who must "come down" from the macho tower, it is not she who will adapt. Moreover, in the end she has a higher educational position as he has; she surpasses him. Compare this to Nazi legislation that tried to reduce female students and women taking educational positions at universities. I surely will not claim that this film is a silent protest, but noteworthy it is.
Karl is played by Albert Matterstock; he is very good and charming and a good choice for the part; he does it with all the needed easiness. There is also a very pleasant supporting cast. With good cinematography, editing and all the above mentioned aspects, a film that deserves close attention.
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