German masterpiece has missed recognition through its origins.
ROMANZE IN MOLLE is an amazing film to have come out of war time Germany, when even gifted film makers were defeated by lack of resources and the attitudes of their time.
This is one of the most elegant and accomplished films ever made and may be considered the German equivalent of GONE WITH THE WIND or ENFANTS DU PARADIS, whose aesthetic it shares marginally. Only noticing the aged male extras in the crowd scenes gives any hint of the circumstances under which the film was produced.
Marian, who was lead in the notorious Nazi JEW SUSS and a couple of preposterous Douglas Sirk thirties German romances, gives his outstanding performance and Hoppe never repeated the delicacy of her playing in any other film I saw. The same may be said for all the recognisable players.
The Maupassant story appears to be the one for the Ophuls' MADAM D. reworked considerably and this film out-classes that.
Kaütner was the great German director of his day, with this anticipating his fifties master works, THE LAST BRIDGE, THE DEVIL'S GENERAL and SKY WITHOUT STARS. Even the first film from his disastrous Hollywood stay is remarkable. Notice MOLLE has the scene he would repeat in later films - the protagonists traveling at the same time but missing one another with fatal results.
The war and the occupation reduced the scale and impact of Helmut Kaütner's efforts but this film shows that he was already well on the way to being the leading European film maker of his day. However, in the wake of WW2, critics where not about to hand that crown to a German.
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