Marcelino is an orphan who grows up in a monastery. One day when he eats his small meal in a room full of old things he gives a piece of his bread to an old wooden Jesus figure - and indeed... See full summary »
Several young girls were killed. Policeman Matthaei travels to the region where it happened and searches a child that looks similar to the ones that were murdered. He finds one and stays with her and her mother, not telling them that he is waiting for the killer to start his bloody work one more time ... Written by
Wolfgang Klimt <email@example.com>
We stand here before one of the most important German speaking movies of the second half of the 20st century, one of the first explicit series (child-) killer movies and one of the most frightful ones. It contains a creme De la creme of the best German actors of the fifties. However, although the movie plays in Switzerland, all Swiss actors speak High-German and are without exception in side roles. The male main role of Kommissar Dr. Matthäi is played by Heinz Rühmann, who was the most popular German actor of the 20st century. The female main role was given by the Hungarian-Catalan director László Vajda to his girlfriend María Rosa Salgado who was dubbed. The fact that not one example of Bündner German is heard in this movie, although the series killer lives obviously in Chur, the capital of the Grisons, is strange. Even stranger is that the only used Bündner German Name "Huonder" is constantly mispronounced (by Max Haufler who should have known it better). However, two questions arise: First, why did the director agree to Rühmann and his scenario-writer to change dramatically the end? In Dürrenmatts novel "Der Verdacht", Schrott is not caught, and the movie has therefore a completely different face. Second, and more important (and hanging together with the first question): What is this movie about, really? Several times, we hear from the mouth of Dr, Matthäi about the importance of using "intution" in clearing a criminal case. But why, then, is it Matthäi who, in the end, is responsible for the suicide of the chap-man? Matthäi is even fully unable to see his guilt: To the question, on the next day, why the innocent chap-man is found hung up in his cell, he laconically answers: Because he was old, sick, did not want to go on anymore ... . What is it then, that drives Matthäi to catch the real killer? Really his pity with the children? - Hardly, because his character does know or at least not admit such feelings. As a proof, he does not doubt one second about the legitimation of his "method" when he engages Mrs. Haller and her daughter, because he intends to (mis-)use the blond little girl as a guinea-pig in order to attract Schrott. Not even then, when he realizes that the little girl has already escaped several times without him knowing it and when he speaks himself about a "miracle" that nothing has yet happened, he stops his action. This means, that Matthäi rather accepts the death of the little girl as long as he is just capable of catching the murderer. This is an idea about police work which is practically identical with the idea of the criminal. Admittedly, the serious killer stands on the other side of Good and Bad than Matthäi, but somebody who is intending to take the loss of the girl in order to solve his case is so-to-say the twin of the criminal, the line between Good and Bad getting almost non-existent.
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