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The Steel Animal (1935)
"Das Stahltier" (original title)

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In present day Germany, by 6:30 a.m., the railway workers are waiting the opening of the factory's door to start a new day of hard work. Inside, Engineer Klaassen is still awake, as all ... See full summary »



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Title: The Steel Animal (1935)

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Complete credited cast:
Aribert Mog ...
Narrator / Engineer Klaassen


In present day Germany, by 6:30 a.m., the railway workers are waiting the opening of the factory's door to start a new day of hard work. Inside, Engineer Klaassen is still awake, as all night long he planned, measured diagrams, used his algorithm tables, made calculations and drew more geometric figures for a new steam locomotive. The labor force works fast, and step by step the steel animal gains form and glints, the intellectual project gains life. Klaassen receives a phone call, and he is happy with his transfer to head the railway line's controlling team. He accepts well his change of job, but when he meets his co-workers, uncultured and rough people, he starts having second thoughts. However, he takes it easy, recognizes that they're highly trained works, and teaches them a number of (flashback) stories of pioneers of the present steam train: the early invention by Denis Papin (1679); the three legendary land-surveyors of Caton Hill; the 1769 experiment by Nicolas-Joseph De ... Written by Artemis-9

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Release Date:

10 July 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Steel Animal  »

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Did You Know?


The film was commissioned by the Reich's Railway Services, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first German railroad, the line Nürnberg-Fürth. The (working) replica of the 1906 steam train cost 18 000 Goldmark (equivalent to 250 000 Euro in 2006). The scenes with the steam train running on tracks, as well as the scenes with replicas of historical engines dating to the 17th century were filmed on the Museum Island (Munich). See more »

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User Reviews

Mechanical Ballet
4 May 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film exists in so many versions it's hard to figure out, but it is beautiful whichever form we see. The shots of wheels and wheels within wheels, gears and gears within gears are lovingly choreographed. Similar to Norman McLaren's "Pas de deux" decades later, these inner workings take a life of their own and we watch the movement not as the movement of mechanical things but as a sort of cosmic dance. No, it isn't propaganda in any way and no, it really doesn't contain a melodramatic plot with famous actors but it goes so much further. This film is well worth anybody's time!

Curtis Stotlar

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