April 1945. Because he stole two bars of chocolate, the soldier Rudi is sentenced to death by the court-martial judge Dr. Schramm. Rudi manages to escape from the firing squad at the last ... See full summary »
April 1945. Because he stole two bars of chocolate, the soldier Rudi is sentenced to death by the court-martial judge Dr. Schramm. Rudi manages to escape from the firing squad at the last minute, and since the end of the war has been making a meager living as a street peddler. Years later, Dr. Schramm is now a respected public prosecutor. By chance, he runs into Rudi one day on the street. Afraid that Rudi will blow the whistle on him, Dr. Schramm wants to scare him out of town. He has Rudi arrested and bullied by the police. Desperate, Rudi steals two chocolate bars from a store, hoping his old case will be reopened and Dr. Schramm's past brought to light. But Dr. Schramm has Rudi's death sentence removed from his file. During the trial, everything seems to be going just the way Dr. Schramm has planned. But then he loses his nerves and, without fully realizing what he is saying, demands that Rudi be sentenced to death. The trial is stopped, Dr. Schramm resigns and Rudi leaves town to... Written by
Some movies are able to capture the feel, look and presence of a particular time; Roses for the prosecutor is such a film. All elements come together, the performances of the actors, the cinematography, the script and direction all work in synch to produce a slice of post WWII West Germany.
The two male leads are fantastic, if only there were actors with their natural talent in today's Hollywood! The Prosecutor is played as a caricature of certain sections of German society who managed to re-invent themselves as 'democrats' after the Nazi defeat of 1945, while actually having been deeply involved with the National Socialist regime.
The young vagabond played by Walter Giller must be one of the most poignant and loving characterizations of hermits in any film I've ever seen. Some may consider him a loser, or an anti-hero perhaps, but in reality he is the only person true to himself in the picture. The slouch and haggard walk of the character will be imprinted in my mind forever.
But that is not all the film has to offer, all the minor characters are so aptly portrayed by all the cast, giving a most accurate portrayal of West German society after the war. Pay particular attention to the reactions of the shop-keeper, insurance broker and architect when they hear Rudi's harrowing tale, and their subsequent behaviour the following day. It's uncanny how accurate and contemporary the film still is in today's world.
And this deeply moving film manages to be funny while dealing with all these very serious themes. Just wonderful.
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