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It happens quite often, that I see a film in which some music is embedded, that stays in the mind. Then I want to know, what music it is. Only rarely such information is given in the end titles. So it is the case in "Sauerbruch". The film closes with Sauerbruch being reminded by his wife not to forget to go to the concert. "Bach! That is good." he replies. After this we see them entering a Gothic church while a Boy's choir with organ is performing "Unser Leben ist ein Schatten" (Our life is a shadow). This wonderful piece is indeed by Bach - but not by the famous Johann Sebastian, but by his ancestor Johann Bach (1604-1673). There is a CD-box (three CDs) with the title "The Bach family" (though being a German recording, the box bears this English title). And another hint: The recording in the film is a bit more grandiose concentrating on the powerful beginning of the piece. The mighty closing organ chords do not belong to this motet.
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Whether the film maker was afraid to include his Nazi period,cause he and his fellow Germans still could not except their past is question mark.That time time Germany was making films facing their past .The devils General. The last bridge.Another one about the life of a army soldier right before the war,in the movie that is.The film maker could of included his third Reich period. Now the real one did express opposition against the euthanasia programs and stayed away from the Nazis as much as possible ,unless he was operating on them.The only connection was a scene ,in the hospital ,in which suicidal Heidemarie Hatheyer was feeling still miserable,the doctor,played by Ewald Balser,almost looks like the real D.r.,tells his woes.How the Russia officials arrested him and had him in jail, until commissar, played by Paul Biederstaedt, got him out remembering that he rescued his mother .which threw Hiede's off on her own misery. Old Frederic the Great 2, played by Otto Gebuhr, is now a aid to a doctor in this one.The only negative they had av bout this film is when they show how in the beginning ,the compression chamber failed causing unintentional death to the patient,an old lady.Then a mistake made on one of his surgery ,which causes bleeding and heart failure ,but was able to rehabilitate the heart immediately through messaging. Inspite of its too positive view on this famous Surgeon.It was still good.The other in the cast are guest appearances,Beside Biederstaedt, was Erich Ponto as one of the doctors ,of Psychiatry.Lina Carstens shows up as one of the nurses.It would of been more dramatic if it include his Nazi period and how he was charged ,after the war and found not guilty, But this wasn't too bad.11/21/12
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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