Ricky is a cold-blooded U.S. German contract killer. After serving in Viet Nam, he returns to his home town of Munich to eliminate a few problem crooks for three renegade cops. He inspects ... See full summary »
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Unusual gangster story, in which a small-time pimp Franz, who is torn between his mistress and Bruno the gangster sent after him by the syndicate that he has refused to join. Things are ... See full summary »
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Ricky is a cold-blooded U.S. German contract killer. After serving in Viet Nam, he returns to his home town of Munich to eliminate a few problem crooks for three renegade cops. He inspects his old neighborhood with his childhood accomplice Franz Walsch, and pays a short visit to his mother and doting brother. When Ricky asks the hotel clerk for a girl, one of the cops sends his girlfriend Rosa. However, she falls for the killer. Written by
"Der Amerikanische Soldat" (1970) is R.W. Fassbinder's least understood movie. Most people think - and this conviction can be found also in textbooks about Fassbinders as well as in reference works of film - that he just wanted to create a German Film Noir as a kind of reverence for his love for the respective American movies of the 50ies. Nothing can be less adequate! The American Soldier, asked by a prostitute, if he is a real Yank, answers: "First, there was Germany ... . Once there was a little boy ... He flew over the Pond ... . Scheisse!". I think the main problem with the story is that Fassbinder purposely does not portray The American Soldier as an American who has been called by the German police to abolish a bunch of criminals. Richard Murphy alias Richard Von Rezzori is a German. When Franz Walsch alias Fassbinder asks him during their car trip: "And how was it in Vietnam?" - Richard's astonishing answer is: "Loud". In this little dialog, there is all you need to understand this outstanding movie. Another crucial scene is when Richard visits his paternal house. As one sees, not only he, but also his mother and his brother are drinkers. When he rings the bell, he tries to kiss his mother, but she disgustedly turns away her head. His brother smashes a wine-glass in his hand until he bleeds. After Richard has left, he starts to cry and says: "Mama, I still love him!". So, who is the American Soldier? A German noble-man who became an American citizen in order to be legitimated to clean-up what had destroyed his soul in Germany? Vietnam as a legitimation to get rid of the burdens of his soul? But about such things one does not speak, and so it was just "loud" down there. But is there not an additional point of criticism in Fassbinder's movie? Fact is: It is the German police (represented by three moronic officers and an antique president) who hire the American Soldier in order to kill all those against which the police has too little evidence in order to arrest them. But in the end, the killer also gets killed, because otherwise the incapability of the police would become public! Can one not see in this other aspect of the story also the function of the real Americans who "liberated" Germany after World War II. and, at the same time, have been accused of intrusion and interference for what they have done? So, Fassbinders's movie is far from being mono-linear. What he copied is a little bit the Ambiente of some early gangster movies, but even the structural main feature, the play with light and shadow and the dark screens which have been so typical for Films Noirs, are completely lacking in "The American Soldier". One has rather the impression, that three clowns of police-men just have watched a bit too many gangster movies, that is all. With that, it goes together that the most unimportant persons in the movie carry the names of famous real persons, a stylistic effect that Fassbinder loved: So, the porter of the shabby hotel is "Murnau", the little girl-friend of one of the police-rowdies is "Rosa Von Praunheim". The porn-sales-girl is Magdalena "Fuller". Last but not least: Richard Von Rezzori bears the name of the German writer Gregor Von Rezzori whose wife Hanna Axmann-Rezzori was one of Fassbinder's early Maecenas and acted in "Warum Läuft Herr R. Amok" and "Rio Das Mortes". The score of this movie, by Fassbinder and Peer Raben, probably belongs to the best film music of all times.
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