This film on the live of the famous and brilliant German surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch is fairly entertaining, but it is rather a hagiography than a biography: the Sauerbruch we see here is not a man of flesh and blood, but a real saint. Embedded in a rather sentimental story that takes place in 1948 (what luck for suicide Heidemarie Hatheyer that Sauerbruch happens to be passing by), in 5 flashbacks episodes of Sauerbruch's live are told; the choice of these episodes are one sided to say the least, which make Sauerbruch a man of no faults.
As said, the frame story takes place in 1948. That is one year after Sauerbruch was reinstated as manager of the Berlin Charité Hospital, that is: after having been suspended from that post in 1945 for having openly collaborated with the Nazis from 1933 onward. This period is conveniently forgotten by the makers, it would have undermined the film's purpose. The only mentioning of that period is in the 1934 episode, in which Sauerbruch takes care of president Hindenburg on his death bed; this is a very dubious scene in which Hindenburg says that he worries about Germany now it is in the hands of "that man", so, it is not really the fault of the old guard! Obviously referring to the situation of the Sauerbruch himself after the war, the makers let Sauerbruch say that "the history that later judges, knows more than we do". According to the makers Sauerbruch could be excused.
I recently saw a 2 minute fragment from a 1943 educational film, in which Sauerbruch gives a lecture to students. Compared to this fragment Ewald Balser makes a very good Sauerbruch in movement and voice; I suspect that he either must have known the man personally or must have studied Sauerbruch carefully on film. In any case, Ewald Balser gives a great performance here, which is more than can be said of the great actress Heidemarie Hatheyer as she is not convincing in any scene.
All in all: an entertaining, but unreliable biopic. (6/10)
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