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The Aryan Couple (2004)

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A WWII Drama about a German/Jewish industrialist who, in order to ensure his family's safe passage out of Germany, is forced to hand over his business to the Nazis.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Joseph Krauzenberg
...
Rachel Krauzenberg
...
Hans Vassman
...
Ingrid Vassman
...
...
Edelhein
...
...
Dressler
Nolan Hemmings ...
Gerhard
Austen Palmer ...
Kurt Becher
...
Second Sentry
...
Jolanda
...
(as Arkardiy Golubovich)
...
Adjutant (as Adrian O'Donnell)
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Storyline

In 1944, in Hungary, the wealthy Jewish industrialist Joseph Krauzenberg is forced by the Reichführer Heinrich Himmler to deliver his 3,000 employee factory; his palace with his collection of antiques and arts; a large amount in gold; and his house to the Reich. In return, the Nazis would send his big family that is arrested in Gestapo safe and sound to the neutral Switzerland and then to Palestine. Himmler schedules a dinner with Krauzenberg and his wife Rachel Krauzenberg to sign the contract and orders the butcher Eichmann to not do harm to the imprisoned Jews relatives of Krauzenberg. Himmer also send the SS Edelhein to check the security of the palace and the two German house servants of Krauzenberg, Hans Vassman and his beautiful pregnant wife Ingrid Vassman. Hans and Ingrid are actually the Jews David and Leila Steinberg and members of the resistance. When the Krauzenberg couple concludes the negotiation with Himmler, Ingrid discloses to the couple that Hans and she are Jews. ... Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sign and you're safe

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images and thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

13 October 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Couple  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(uncut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The luftwaffe plane that lands is not a German plane. It is a American Dakota DC3 used by the Allies in WW2. How could they think that no one would notice such a mistake? See more »

Goofs

When Hans and Ingrid Vassman were to be executed in the palace's yard by Dressler, as they were taken inside the palace, you can see a green Mercedes modern van on the left side of the screen. See more »

Quotes

Himmler: Sign, and you're safe.
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User Reviews

 
The subject matter is more daftly executed than deftly executed, with a real lack of both respect and knowing towards the situations that unfold.
9 January 2010 | by (Hampshire, England) – See all my reviews

The Aryan Couple is a film that covers a story and general subject matter without the respect nor attention they both deserve. It tells the most spectacular of tales in quite the most unspectacular of fashions; dumbing down harsh, gritty, disturbing goings-on in 1940s Eastern Europe into a bland, televisual, underwhelming series' of events - the idea and the situations most of the characters find themselves in are quite incredible, the cinematic translation from script to screen is anything but. Directed by now deceased John Daly, he of mostly producing credit fame; the film adopts a somewhat flimsy, 'point and shoot' aesthetic running on what appears to be a film stock more akin to the whatever format they used in the 1980s for shooting specifically made-for TV, usually police orientated, serial dramas.

The film sees elderly, wealthy Jewish Hungarian Joseph Krauzenberg (Landau), and his family of various generations, come up against the Nazi war machine whom observe this successful Jewish businessman and naturally, want in. Using all the powers, bargaining, wrangling abilities he has plus something known as the 'Europa Plan', Joseph attempts to essentially trade in what he owns for he and his families' lives. But a film revolving around this would result in whatever threat there might be, born out of whether the Nazi's would stay true to their word or not. As it happens, there're some incidences in which this is used to get across a scrap of dramatic weight; but the real story going on here is that which relates to the title: an Aryan couple whom work for the Krauzenberg family and are secretly working for the resistance; so secretly in fact, that their employers know nothing of it.

The film begins with a somewhat ill-judged sequence which sees a whole load of holocaust iconography thrust into our faces. Where, maybe a series of text might have been more efficient informing us of necessary statistics and actions that were going in at the time, in the area; Daly throws a series of scenes at us in which dramatic shots of death camps and cattle trains accompanied by the necessary music are the order of the day; on one particular occasion, a tracking shot towards an oven as the looming, brooding sound effects crank it up a level. From the off, the film lays out its hand; telling us to feel the pain and the emotion which comes with this sort of subject material rather than allowing us to naturally arrive at this point in our own time as the film tragically progresses.

Following the premature bombardment of some of this content, the film will cut to a train station and use a second manipulation cue, in that it provides us with a Nazi guard on the platform tossing a child's toy onto the coal carriage located just behind the engine – obviously lost or dropped following the ensuing chaos of herding those 'guilty' of Judaism onto a cattle train. It's this somewhat sickly identification the film makes with the fact there are children involved, which again, begs us to fast-track emotion and feel the pain and emotional anxiety which almost certainly comes when better films are executing similar subject matter in a more efficient manner. The opening is an acknowledgement to those that died, whereas the film is more about those that are desperately doing everything in their power to survive. Daly's referencing to those that did perish is nothing more than exactly that; a mere 'nod' of the head, a removing of the hat to those that suffered – to say it doesn't quite reach the levels of achievement Polanski got to in 2002's The Piainist, in terms of getting across a sense of fear; loss; tragedy; risk and survival – all at various points and all observed brilliantly, is a gross understatement.

The Aryan couple of the title are Hans Vassmann (Doughty) and his wife Ingrid (Carver), two people whom it is established are 'doing their bit' in smuggling in the necessary items required to run a resistance outlet at the Krauzenberg's huge home. One of only very few tense moments comes early on involving the two when they try to get past a German checkpoint whilst carrying items they'd surely be shot for possessing. It might've been even more effective had the German guards not been played by British actors speaking in English the whole time – is it asking too much to have German actors playing these role and using the German language? It would seem the film-makers were worrying a little too much about audience accessibility to the piece than giving a more authentic experience for the rest of us.

The film maintains a pretty desperate sense that it wants to tug at those heart strings more often than not, thus encompassing some pretty melodramatic acting accompanied by some daftly executed scenes; best highlighted in the instance when some family heirlooms are handed over to the Aryan couple in a 'thank you' gesture. Some Nazi officers carry scars on their faces to emphasise evilness; most of the lines at the more tense of times are representative of peculiar screen writing and are delivered in the worst of fashions: "We will never be forgotten" a character states at one point around a dinner table, over a rousing musical score, but we're not involved enough to feel anything; while a moral predicament two people question each other over seems half-baked and lacking in any sort of real dramatic effect. The Aryan Couple is quite the little cinematic misfire; a floundering mess of an adaptation of what is a supposedly true story of something which deserved better.


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