A charming Saturday matinée film. As a learner of German I watched it for that purpose, but was well entertained by the plot and action, a children's/family film, it avoids being sickly 'Disney'. Naturally the viewer has the choice of English subtitles.
The acting of the children is good. It is quite free and not self-conscious or cool. The scenes of hundreds of children on foot, roller skates and with scooters and bikes, chasing after the 'bad guy' through central Berlin is well directed.
The shooting beautifully captures the centre of Berlin in the mid fifties and shows something of life at the time. A visitor to Berlin today would find many of the locations familiar. A lot of the scenes have some really nice shots.
Some may find the music a little overpowering at times, but representative of the orchestration of films of the era and therefore fitting.
There have been earlier and later film versions. Most recent is 2001. After the remake of Wim Wenders 'Wings of Desire' (Der Himmel Über Berlin) I am a bit reluctant to race out and view the latest version.
Watching the post-wall, cooler 'children' of Berlin 2001, using mobile phones and computers in their quest, would have a very different feel to it.
In contrast, the 1954 version is set in a post-war Berlin several years before the wall and refreshingly long before it's now just as omnipresent and depressing Graffiti.
Have some fun and do your German homework at the same time!
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