Otto, a young man from East-Frisia comes to the big city (Hamburg) to make his fortune. Most of all he is engaged with two problems: How can he impress Silvia, a rich young girl, and where ...
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Otto loses his flat, because he could not pay the rent. To work off his rent arrears he is doing dirty work for the caretaker. Just now Gaby moves into the house and Otto falls in love, but Gaby has eyes only for Amboss the bodybuilder.
Otto is the only one who is able to save his Frisian fatherland; but he needs the help of his brother, who is abroad. But his brother does not want to fulfill what he has sworn as a child. ... See full summary »
Marijan David Vajda,
Hans Peter Hallwachs
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Otto, a young man from East-Frisia comes to the big city (Hamburg) to make his fortune. Most of all he is engaged with two problems: How can he impress Silvia, a rich young girl, and where does he get 9876,50 DM to pay off a loan shark? Written by
Most successful German movie of all time with 14 million viewers. Another contender is Manitou's Shoe (2001) with 12 million viewers. Since records about viewer's attendance weren't kept in the GDR, the estimated number of 14 million viewers could be ambiguous. After all, Otto - Der Film (1985) had 11 million approved viewers in West Germany, making Manitou's Shoe (2001) technically more successful. See more »
Before Otto signs the credit contract, Shark turns over the first page of it. In the next shot (from a different angle) he turns the page over again. See more »
For money I would even sell my soul.
We don't buy anything, we have everything.
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The highlight of Otto's career (and sadly the beginning of a steep decline)
If you're from Germany and from my generation (born in the mid-70's, that is), there really was no way around Otto Waalkes. Kids would recite his jokes in school, parents would let the kids stay up longer just to watch a re-run of Ottos Stand-Up-Show on TV and his trademark cartoon, the "Ottiphant" was to be seen everywhere. Granted, Otto wasn't great intellectual humour like Loriot or Gerhard Polt, often crossing the border of pure, physical slapstick and grimace-humour and if I'd have to compare him to American comedians, I'd go for a cross Jerry Lewis and the Three Stooges in one persona.
The story is simply: Otto is a young, innocent boy from a godforsaken Frisian island, who dreams of making it big in the Big City (namely Hamburg). But all doesn't go as planned once he arrives there. In fact, nothing goes as planned. In order to get cash and open a business which consists of him making outrageous plans for all intents and purposes he loans some money from a local loan-shark. Before he knows it, Otto (who didn't read the small print on the loan-sharks contract) finds himself in debt of exactly 9876,50 Mark. By chance and coincidence he rescues the life of Silvia (Jessika Cardinahl), daughter of a high-society lady and falls in love with her. Now Otto has to multi-task, forever trying to find a way to pay off his debt while trying to win the heart of his beloved, before she can marry the slimy socialite Ernesto (Sky du Mont).
It does not come as a big surprise that "Otto The Film" went on to become the most successful German film at the box-office; a record that has not been broken yet. How else could it have been without aforementioned Otto-Boom? Technically it's a compilation of sketch-material and personas, pumped up by a cinema-production, tied together by the thin storyline and bolstered by numerous guest-appearances and cameos by well-known TV-personalities such as Johannes Heesters, Eberhard Feik ("Tatort"), Elisabeth Wiedemann (an accomplished comedian in her own rights) or Günther Kauffmann (a famed Afro-German actor since his time with Werner Rainer Fassbinder; the butt of this particular joke, namely that Otto considers himself "a negro too", because he has black/dirty feet as well, not really 'PC' by today's standards).
We'd have to lie if we'd claim that the humor has aged very well. There are dozens of spoofs and "cultural references", from "Jaws" to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" (which Otto spoofs on a graveyard, dressed up as Heino). But all those references both to his own show and other movies are kept in measure, leaving Otto as naïve, chaotic but still lovable bumpkin at the heart's core. Something that Otto wouldn't (or couldn't) replicate in later films, becoming a parody of himself and the references merely the flesh to his potatoes.
Is it compatible with foreign viewers? Hard to say. I'd give it a 30 percent "yes" and 70 percent "no". Sure, the goofy slapstick is rather universal, but unless you're fluent in German and know your way around the Germany of the 1970's and 80's, much of the wordplays and situation-humor will most likely escape you. So yes, it's probably more of a local affair.
"Otto Der Film" would sadly remain the highlight of Waalkes career, which has since declined. Sure, the comedian made a few new fans with more contemporary films like "Sieben Zwerge" ("Seven Dwarf"), but to many old-school fans his desperate attempts to regain former glory are often saddening, if not pathetic. Waalkes had never developed or progressed an inch from the Otto-persona which he developed in the 70's, sticking to it to this very day, even when making public appearances or giving interviews. Hence, the word "tiresome" comes to mind. Again it shouldn't come as a surprise sad as it is that he went on to star in Germany's bestselling comedy of all times to making a cameo in "Kartoffelsalat", which has righteously earned its place in the IMDb's Bottom-100.
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