Told in the style of the German cabaret theatre, where both Gunther Neumann and Gert Frobe were important members, this is a balladeer's version of a serious plot with musical interludes. The year is 2050 and the audience is asked to look at a telecast of 'The Ancients", from a century ago. Flashback to Germany, 1948, where Otto Normalverbraucher (Otto Averageman in the English-narrated version) is just returning from service in the German army during World War II. His experiences, told tongue-in-cheek, of the troubles that beset the average, law-abiding German citizen in post-war, war-torn destitute Germany and his awareness of the changes and problems are the bulk of the story. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Extraordinary--a German language comedy with English voice-over
The place is Germany, the time is World War I. The hero does not want to be drafted so he does a number of remarkably inventive things. Like opening a tin of sardines, leaving it out in the sun all day, then eating it just before he goes for his medical exam. But he is drafted anyway. He is tormented by the usual stupid sergeant who, barking guttural commands, keeps ordering him to fling himself down and pick himself up. Except that the places picked for this exercise are knee-deep in mud.
The hero makes it through the war safely and one day in a Berlin street-car, hears an officious, strangely familiar voice bullying passive passengers. It is the conductor who is his old sergeant, in uniform again! Eye to eye, neither can believe what he sees. Suddenly the conductor starts barking orders at him and old reflexes take over; he flings himself to the floor of the street car. up, down, up, down. End.
The above doesn't give an idea of how funny it all is, but consider it was made in 1952, just seven years after the German disaster of World War II, and clearly by a German team wanting to ridicule German militarism and you see the possibilities.
The real humor, though, comes from the English voice-over of Henry Morgan, brilliant, cynical, sarcastic radio comedian of the 30s. I believe he wrote all the belly-laugh wisecracks in the commentary. They certainly sounded like him.
2 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?