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The true story of the odyssey of the Wermacht-Soldier Clemens Forell
(Weiss), who flew from a soviet pow-camp in Siberian, was the biggest
milestone in the history of the West-German TV. "So weit ..." was a so
called "Strassenfeger" (road sweeper), because nobody wanted to miss a part
of this show, and so the roads were empty at this time. Only a few years
before the last prisoners returned from Russia, so the subject of this show
was still fresh. Many people hoped that their husbands or sons could have
done what Forell had done.
Only a few TV-shows rose reactions like this and grow this popular in Germany. The shows which grow so popular like "So weit ..." even have been exported to other countries or have been remade, among these shows are "Stahlnetz" (Dragnet), "Das Millionenspiel" (The Running Man) or Derrik, but "So weit die Fuesse tragen" never was sold to an TV-station in a English speaking country.
I like this mini a lot, because it has a lot of good acting in it: Often it seems to happen on stage, due to the lots of studio takes that are supposed to show us Sibiria at it´s worst and also as a result of the classic stage acting education the actors involved enjoyed... The movie gives a clear perspective of what the german public felt about the pow´s and mia´s in the fifities and war in general: It was too early to reflect upon the problem as complex as it really was. The revolution of the sixties that painfully opened the eyes of our grandparents and parents generation for the cruelties of WW2 and the holocaust was not in sight: Twenty years later everything looks a lot different...
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