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Das zweite Gleis (1962)

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Dark secrets from the Nazi era emerge in 1960's East Germany



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Cast overview:
Albert Hetterle ...
Walter Brock
Annekathrin Bürger ...
Vera Brock - seine Tochter
Horst Jonischkan ...
Walter Richter-Reinick ...
Erwin Runge
Helga Göring ...
Frau Gertrud Runge
Erik S. Klein ...
Heinz Gericke
Johanna Clas ...
Frau Anneliese Merkel
Brigitte Lindenberg ...
Angestellte im Kdh.
Paul Berndt ...
Walter E. Fuß ...
Arno Wyzniewski ...


An attempted robbery from a railway freight wagon takes place in a marshaling yard in East Germany. The Yard Supervisor, Brock recognises the thief as someone he has good reason to hate from the wartime. But identifying him would bring all sorts of ghosts out to haunt him, so he denies knowing the man. Meanwhile his daughter and her boyfriend get curious about the past and when they investigate, they expose a history that is explosive. Can anyone put the genie back in the bottle? Written by Hazel Freeman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War





Release Date:

26 October 1962 (East Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Second Track  »

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User Reviews

Sublime East German Noir
20 July 2010 | by (Blue Mountains Australia) – See all my reviews

Night-time in the switching yard, and Walter Brock, the affable railway official stumbles across two employees helping themselves to some freight. It's dark, but he's sure he could identify one of them, and as they flee, he orders an immediate lock-down of the area. Hordes of railway police descend (literally), and an impromptu line-up is arranged.

Yes, I think that's him!

But as they stare at each other, there is a sudden flash of some other recognition on Brock's part, and a questioning, searching why do I also know you from the offender.

No, sorry, says Brock. I don't think it's him after all. I was mistaken. And from here it's a tightly scripted visual and thematic feast which unlocks a secret hidden from Brock's daughter, about her past and the fate of her mother. This secret entraps one man and frees another. The yard-gates close on some and they open for others.

Why Brock's sudden determination to leave a fine and indispensable position with the railways, to begin some new life with his daughter in Rostock? Why the insatiable desire of Erwin Runge, the original suspect, to recall the face of his accuser?

Your name isn't Brock, it's Merkel.

My mother was killed in the bombing of Küstrin.

But Küstrin was never bombed.

The Blockleiter.

This is a movie of awkward angles, skewed light, shadow and steam, industrial grey and close ups. Dirty and deserted landscapes. Like the railway? You're in for a treat. Perfect Noir.

This is possibly the best of that small but essential cluster of East German movies which tackles the legacy of a Nazi past, and which includes The Murderers Are Among Us and Rotation.

Such a taut movie! Such a twist! Look too at the photography of O. Winston Link to get some idea of the visuals in store for you. A classic of the genre; an obscure cinematic treasure!

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