"Der Hauptmann von Köpenick" is a German 95-minute movie from 1997, so this one has its 20th anniversary this year. The director is Frank Beyer, possibly the most successful filmmaker from the GDR and this is one of his final works. The play this is based on is by Carl Zuckmayer who was not alive anymore for quite a while when this movie came out. The man who adapted it was Wolfgang Kohlhaase, one of the most successful film writers in German history and he is still well alive and working today way into his 80s. The lead actor is Harald Juhnke and with his Berlin background, it should not be too surprising really that he takes on the Huptmann, one of Germany's most known film characters and one of Heinz Rühmann's biggest roles too. The latter 1950s version was nominated for an Academy Award. But now to this one here. I think visually the film was fine and Juhnke's lead performance elevated the material at times, but I personally never managed to develop truly great interest in the character(s) and what would happen to them. This may not necessarily be Kohlhaase's fault as I did not like the Rühmann film as much as everybody else did, even if I would say it was still better than this one here, even if Juhnke probably was not much worse than Rühmann and his Berliner Schnauze helped subject matters here. The cast includes more known names like Samel, Trissenaar, Thalbach and Bohm, but honestly I felt that either they had too little to work with or they just did not make enough of the material given here. I would only recommend this film, which was actually a small screen release, to those who really love either the story or the Rühmann movie. Everybody else can skip it as it not too memorable at all despite all the big names working on this project. Thumbs down.
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