"Axel Munthe - Der Arzt von San Michele" or "Story of San Michele" or "Das Buch von San Michele" is a co-production between France, Italy and West German that resulted in a German-language 2-hour movie from 1962, so this movie is already way over 50 years old. This also becomes obvious from the inclusion of actor O.W. Fischer, who plays the title character. The Austrian actor was certainly very established at that point and had won many awards that qualified him as one of the German acting elite back then. Heinz Erhardt and Ilja Richter for example are also in here and Germans probably still know these today. There may be other actors (and actresses in the cast familiar to audiences that have seen a lot of stuff, probably especially Italians. But these names weren't good enough to make the film work I guess. It is based on the real autobiography by Munthe, but looking at how many people worked on this one behind the camera (directing and writing), I find it a bit shocking how weak this film turned out. I think this could/should have been much much better with the cast they had at their disposal. The good thing is that it is a color film despite the age (maybe a bad thing for some also), I like that. But even the somewhat modern look did not keep it from being a disappointment. I don't know who Alex Munthe is, but I cannot say at all that the movie got me curious about him or his life and achievements, which is admittedly always a deal-breaker when it comes to films with so much focus on the lives of main characters, really existing main character, even if Munthe was already dead when the film came out. So yeah, I personally think this one we have here drags a lot on several occasions and it definitely could have needed more focus, maybe at 90-95 minutes max. the performances are sometimes good, sometimes forgettable, but nothing stays too memorable either and it's probably not one of Fischer's best I have seen so far (and I ave seen a bit). I give this one a thumbs-down. Maybe the best aspect is the visual side. It is certainly not the story and you should watch something else instead.
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