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In this German film directed by the Hungarian Zoltan Korda, the male
lead in "Metropolis" has another big role. You will find that his
histrionic temptation-angst defeatism arising from his choosing
mindlessly between two women, and between the soft life and the
workers' life, will be mutually and agreeably resolved by the women
while he plays ball. The competition appears to be between two teams,
The Average Joes and Globo Gym, or their equivalents, the two
sports-clubs, but the winner is the game of dodge-ball, or fuss-ball or
soccer or whatever it is they're playing on that pretty field.
It's a film of great silent-film photography, with cameras riding on trucks interspersed with radiant-eyed reaction shots.
The film was made in the summer of 1927 in Berlin. There is a scene where the underdog team of day-workers wonder how long it will take for them to save enough to build their own stadium. By their calculations, at the rate they are saving they won't have enough money to build a stadium until 1947... What a difference to those calculations the 20 years will make...
I can't think of many movies in which soccer was a key element. There's
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM and the ludicrous VICTORY. After that, it's mostly
two-minute actualities from about 1900. That doesn't mean that this
type of movie is unknown to me. Movies about people in sports coming to
learn the true meaning of their game may not be as common a theme as
people learning the true meaning of Christmas, but it crops up
regularly. As an American, it's usually about baseball or our version
So this movie about how Gustav Froelich is the best player on a small after-work soccer team, caught between the love of Evelyn Holt and the allure of Lissy Arna and her professional team is pretty much a cut-and-dried plot. It's also a bit slow and solemn -- William Haines or Joe E. Brown would have disposed of this story in 75 minutes with a lot more good humor. Co-director Vincent Korda shoots some interesting soccer moves, but the game is assembled through strenuous editing, very high-speed for the era --longer takes would have been better, but between the difficulty of shooting an extended sequence and the excitement of short cuts, it was the obvious and cheap choice.
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