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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1943)

Münchhausen (original title)
This lavish, impudent, adult fairy tale takes the viewer from 18th-century Braunschweig to St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Venice, and then to the moon using ingenious special effects, stunning location shooting.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Wilhelm Bendow ...
Der Mondmann
Brigitte Horney ...
Michael Bohnen ...
Herzog Karl von Braunschweig
...
...
Freiherr von Hartenfeld
Hermann Speelmans ...
Christian Kuchenreutter
Marina von Ditmar ...
Sophie von Riedesel
Andrews Engelmann ...
Fürst Potemkin
Käthe Haack ...
Waldemar Leitgeb ...
Walter Lieck ...
Der Läufer
Hubert von Meyerinck ...
Prinz Anton Ulrich
Jaspar von Oertzen ...
Graf Lanskoi
Werner Scharf ...
Prinz Francesco d'Este
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Storyline

This lavish, impudent, adult fairy tale takes the viewer from 18th-century Braunschweig to St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Venice, and then to the moon using ingenious special effects, stunning location shooting.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Details

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Release Date:

6 August 1943 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(restored) | (premiere)

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Color:

(Agfacolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joseph Goebbels, Reichsminister of propaganda and also chief of the German UFA Studios, ordered this film to be made for the 25th anniversary of UFA. See more »

Goofs

Sophia's "beauty spots" disappear and reappear during the opening scenes of the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in Frozen Flashes (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Fabled Baron
21 April 2008 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

You've got to hand it to that Josef Goebbels. When the little club footed maniac wasn't busy trying to get into the pants of every starlet of the German cinema, his UFA Studios could turn out some good work. Such is the case of the lavish spectacle Munchhausen. The color cinematography and special effects definitely equal the quality of anything Hollywood could do.

The Munchhausen Stories in German culture are akin to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. The author Rudolf Erich Raspe was trying for Swift like satire of the political events of his time. In time though they became beloved for their face value alone. In fact the protagonist became a synonym, Munchhausen's syndrome is a diagnosis for one who tells exaggerated stories or outright lies the better to ingratiate themselves with another individual or a group.

In fact at the same time that German romantic cinema star Hans Albers was doing Munchhausen over in Germany, a different kind of Munchhausen was popular in America. Jack Pearl, a former vaudevillian, had a radio series based on the Munchhausen character and his famous line to those who questioned the authenticity of his stories was "Vas you dere Charlie". Quite popular back in the day.

The story of the fabled Munchhausen is told in flashback during a party in modern Germany by the current Baron Munchhausen . By the way, another reviewer said that it would be Germany in the Thirties before World War II started. Not necessarily because the Nazi regime was notorious for not asking the kind of sacrifices demanded of its civil population until late in the war. Such a lavish type party was definitely in keeping with the regime's culture of the time.

Though Goebbels kept it light as he did most of UFA's product except those that were outright propaganda, they did get their shots in. During the part of the film concerning Munchhausen's visit to Imperial Russia, the German background of Catherine the Great played by a fetching Brigitte Horney is emphasized. Catherine was a name she took when she married the Czar, she was in fact Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst. Also there is a scene when Pugachev, the peasant leader of a revolt in Siberia, is brought in caged like an animal and looking like something from Dr. Moreau's laboratory. Pugachev was later played by Van Heflin in the film Tempest in the next decade. The caricature was definitely in keeping with the Nazi ideas to depict Slavic people as some kind of subhumans, almost as bad as Jews.

Throughout the film as Munchhausen travels from St. Petersburg, to Istanbul, to Venice and even the moon, Albers's faithful sidekick is Herman Speelmans who is like Sancho Panza or even Gabby Hayes if you will. Speelmans does a fine job and dies on the moon in a beautifully played scene.

As the propaganda is kept to a minimum, Munchhausen has survived to be appreciated on its own merits which are considerable.


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