Reviews written by registered user

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255 reviews in total 
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Peter (1934)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Austrian Poverty Row, 9 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is an interesting gender-confusion movie from 1934 Austria. We see a rather cool grandfather and his granddaughter Eva (with charming Hungarian accent). Desperate to earn some money, they first try backyard singing, with little success. Then Eva tries to get in the newspaper (selling) business, by ridiculously exaggerating the headlines. A customer complains, and in the ensuing chaos crashes a phone booth with his car.

Brief courtroom drama. Eva decides to become a boy (freckles and all...), picks the first name Peter, and even gets hired at a car repair/gas station. Of course, more trouble follows...

...including a doctor who has no patients, and Eva/Peter tries to help him. In many ways.

Or the ball, where (s)he is admitted on second try. (In a more modern frock.)

A quite heartbreaking scene is when her granddad and she are evicted from the gas station, and pull their wagon to (where?)

The doctor speeds by in his car, and crashes another phone booth...

Confusing, you say? I agree. Yet, this is a charming movie. Which in some ways reflects the confusing times it was made in.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Tense, atmospheric, 18 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First things first: this is an East German propaganda film for teenage children. Without too gory details, we get to see concentration camp prisoners and wards, good communists, bad Nazis, the Red Army liberating the KZ, and finally a parade with jubilant citizens and tanks waving the East German flag, with an uplifting song about socialism as finale.

That said, I must say that the film is very artfully done. In little over one hour of runtime, it delivers memorable and sometimes nail-biting impressions of the concentration camp, children's life in central Berlin in 1939 (including flying a kite, which later ends up torn in a tree, as later often seen in Charlie Brown comics), the drama of a political prisoner ("Pepp") en route to KZ (I suppose) being freed from a boxcar and sheltered in the basement of a former restaurant, the troubles to get non-convict clothing and some money for him, conflicts between the main boys ("Amigo" who surrenders himself to protect the others, and "Sine", who in one scene loves to show his new HJ uniform, whose father is a Nazi tending to drink)... and of course the Gestapo staff working on the case. Quite thrilling, yet without visible violence.

Much atmospheric imagery, with interesting details - the sub-story of the pay-box for electricity (or gas?) fascinated me most.

I rank this film close to "Ich war 19" as a memorable experience. Communism is basically gone, the GDR has ceased to exist, so the political concerns are negligible now, but the imagery of this film has survived all that, and is still impressing, in my eyes.

Der rasende Roland (1977) (TV)
Funny mix, 7 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The titular Roland (diesel locomotive engineer at the East German Reichsbahn) has a complicated love life (with most any woman along his line.) Even when he is assigned to the express train to (East) Berlin.

Add to the complexity: the woman handball teams of both of his line's end points, and their machinations. And the dachshund associations and tests...

As I have never lived in East Germany, I might have missed many subtleties. But still I enjoyed the show.

Comedian Rolf Herricht shows his strengths, but decently.

All in all, a quite well-done comedy from a country that disappeared in 1990. Less about trains than I'd have hoped, but still a lovely blast from the past, from a fallen-flag country since 25 years...

I enjoyed watching this film.

Autobus S (1937)
Weird Hamburg "thriller" from Nazi times, 14 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is somehow in the league of "Große Freiheit..." or "Auf der Reeperbahn...". It tells a story of a seaman from Hamburg, who had to change jobs to a "Hochbahn" bus driver.

He has a bride-to-be, with whom he goes to buy furniture, and many old pals, not to forget Rita from Egypt...

Confusing story. There is a jewelry store robbery which is never really solved.

And most important are uniforms, be it navy, police, or "Hochbahn".

Still, seeing when this film was made, it's refreshingly un-Nazi...

Watch at your own risk. It was on YouTube today, don't know how long it will be there. I, for one, found it quite interesting.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Late WW2 jungle drama, 21 June 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film was produced in Cinecitta, Rome, in parallel Italian and German versions with different actors (like they did in the early sound film days). I watched the German version, starring Sybille Schmitz.

Set on some pseudonymed island, possibly a British colony, where malaria suddenly strikes hard. A young male doctor out in a jungle camp (which gets attacked by gruesome jungle aborigines) researching mosquitoes, a young female doctor in the city...

A replacement doctor "Dos Passos" arrives by ship, constantly followed by an American reporter, who tries to remember where he has seen him before...

Quite dramatic, somewhat racist, with otherwise decent production values as needed for an escapist movie to make viewers forget the real WW2 outside. Not a highlight of cinematic history, but interesting in the context I mentioned.

A children's thriller, 8 February 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Toni (maybe 7 years old) and his sister Rita (maybe 3) travel alone by train to visit their grandma in Bamsdorf, eight stations down the line. Toni doesn't know precisely which the right-hand side is.

From that consequential error, several things go wrong on their separate odysseys through rural (or even bucolic) East Germany... transportation is on foot, or, when you're lucky, by horse cart or steam train.

Camera and quick editing make this a nerve-racking experience, unlike other GDR children films I've watched.

*** Spoiler *** In the end, all goes well.

For trainspotters, a steam locomotive with open-vestibule passenger cars also play roles.

Productive topic, 18 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The topic of the girl telegrapher in the small station, keeping a treasure, being assaulted by two tramps, was soon very productive:

- A year later (1912), Griffith remade this into "The Girl and her Trust", adding a handcar escape and a locomotive chase;

- in 1915, the episode "Escape on the Fast Freight" of the legendary "Hazards of Helen" series started from the same place, and added quite some on-train action (maybe even the concept of "Hazards of Helen" started from Lonedale... the heroine is often a telegrapher, and goes through diverse adventures on the railroad); -... - in 2005, students at Offenburg (Germany) University of Applies Sciences made another remake, using green-screen and computer-animated backgrounds.

2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Alcoholic comedy, 7 June 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Brief outline of the plot:

Secretary (male) of a cosmetic surgery professor rents an ultra-modern flat (all furniture comes out of the wall; the landlady is rather older), plans to marry his fiancée Mimi. Professor makes an appointment with new patient Mary Tired from Venice for a nose job, sends secretary to pick her up at station and bring her to hotel. Secretary picks the wrong girl, an acrobatic dancer. Meeting with professor reveals error.

Mimi has seen from the tram secretary and dancer in taxicab, threatens to break engagement. Secretary goes out and gets wildly drunk.

Professor and his wife go to a nightclub, where the dancer girl is working (great somersaults) and recognizes the professor. Wife gets angry, wants to go home. The coats and hats of professor and secretary get mixed up at the wardrobe counter. Professor goes for it, meets dancer again, gets wildly drunk. ...

Hilarity, and more plot twists than I care to describe here, ensues. I enjoyed it. If you like, try it ;^)

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A touch of Lubitsch, 21 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

While this film sometimes has the subtlety of a Punch and Judy show, at other times it certainly brought me good laughs, and it milked many jokes out of the Mechanical Woman topic. Then there are foreigner stereotypes about the Italian hotel manager and the Swiss waiter, some being less painful than others. Then again, the catastrophic finale triggered by "love" very well wraps it up... The scenes in the Underground were quite well executed, where the smoking ears were a bit over the top.

I watched this shortly after "Die Puppe" (Ernst Lubitsch, 1919) which had a similar concept as center of the plot: an artisan builds a lifelike woman robot as the likeness of his daughter/niece, but for public appearance, the original must double up as the copy, the real woman acting as if she were the robot. A mouse/hairpin destroys the illusion.

In this juxtaposition, I found The Perfect Woman a very interesting watch - compare how Ossi Oswalda (in Die Puppe) and Patricia Roc in this play the most difficult role, both halfway plausible, and very charming.

I give it 9/10 - not for great cinematic art, but for the fun I had.

Reichscartoon, 16 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This technically quite well-made cartoon from pre-war Nazi Germany is a commercial (or propaganda piece) for Volksempfänger ("people's receiver"), inexpensive radios.

First we see agricultural statistics: the far-away village of Miggershausen is quite below standards in milk and egg production. An anthropomorphic radio undertakes the long voyage by express train, steam train, hay carriage to Miggershausen to advertise its services. It is not well received.

Then, it collects and leads an army of radios to try again. They flood all the farmhouses and seem to be more convincing that way - at day, they spread agricultural knowledge to bring milk and egg production up to standards; later, they just play music and illustrate how various people enjoy various kinds of music.

A very interesting old piece. I found it on YouTube.

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