Reviews written by registered user
|9 reviews in total|
In 1925, Edgar Wallace wrote what was to become one of his most famous novels: "The Gaunt Stranger". He changed the title and the ending in 1926 and adapted it for the stage as "The Ringer", which is said to have been his biggest success, and it earned him the title of King of Crime. This German TV film is an adaptation of the stage play and, being one of the first German TV films ever, a historical document at the same time. Unfortunately, it is very talky and rather tedious. It seems to follow the play closely, which implies hardly any change of setting and a minimum of suspense, because the only murder we see is committed at the end of the play. So the audience has to wait almost two hours until the story finally becomes interesting for some minutes to be finished almost immediately thereafter. To offer an alternative, I recommend the version from 1964 starring Joachim Fuchsberger and Heinz Drache, which is a German film as well and held my interest from the first to the last scene. I'm sure Edgar Wallace would have liked that one, too.
I certainly would not have watched this film if I had not known the original, the ingenious "12 Angry Men", directed by Sidney Lumet. This German TV film was made only six years later and it is almost as great as the original, mostly because of the wonderful cast, minor changes in the script and because it focuses on one setting only: the room of the jury. This creates a claustrophobic atmosphere, which is needed to understand the tension between all the characters. As far as the cast is concerned, I liked Siegfried Lowitz, Mario Adorf and Ralf Wolter in particular, but the other actors gave convincing performances as well. By the way, there is another TV remake from 1997 starring Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott, which is not only in colour but in my opinion even more compelling than Sidney Lumet's film. But since the other ones are exciting, too, make sure you watch one of them.
This German TV film was supposed to revive and continue the 1960s classic series of films based on novels by Edgar Wallace. Sadly enough, it fails miserably. The story is rather confusing, the final twist doesn't make any sense and worst of all the actors are unconvincing apart from some older cast members such as Pinkas Braun and Gisela Uhlen, who already starred in a number of Wallace films in the 1960s. Although the film was a flop on TV, some six or seven Wallace adaptations followed (all of very poor quality) until 2002. Obviously, it took the producers that long to accept that these films cannot hold a candle to the classic series.
This Austrian TV film is about Theodor Herzl, who many people consider to be the father of the state of Israel. The film covers the most important years of Herzl's life, from the Dreyfus affair in 1894 up to his death in 1904. It shows Herzl's early years as an unsuccessful dramatist and his work at the newspaper 'Neue Freie Presse' in Vienna. The idea to found a state for Jews came to his mind when he lived in France and saw how unjustly the Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus was treated by the authorities. From then on, the film follows Herzl's attempts to collect enough money to buy parts of Palestine and thereby offer the Jews a refuge from anti Semitism. The 1897 congress in Basle, where the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine was resolved, was the climax of this development. What I like most about this film are the comments of an Israeli journalist who interferes from time to time. His scenes are combined with some authentic pictures of 1973 Jerusalem that form a good contrast to the otherwise historic atmosphere of the film. Pinkas Braun, who plays the leading role, makes visible what a charismatic man Theodor Herzl must have been. If you want to learn something about the history of the Jews and the foundation of Israel, watch this film. It is interesting, informative and by no means boring.
In this German TV film Ulrike Krumbiegel plays a 35 year old single mother who works as an estate agent and is desperately looking for 'Mr Right'. She neglects her daughter and is highly indebted. Then she makes the acquaintance of a charming young man, they fall in love with each other and things seem to change. But at that moment her doctor tells her that she suffers from breast cancer. The way she tries to hide her disease and partly changes her character during the therapy is brilliantly portrayed by Ulrike Krumbiegel, who was given the German TV Award as best actress for this part. This award was well-deserved because she shows very subtly the somewhat helpless girl under the mask of the successful power woman that is step by step revealed because of the weakening effect of the chemotherapy. The scenes in which she is obviously marked by her disease but is still trying to keep her normal life going are the strongest moments of the film. Besides, it never becomes sentimental, which is another reason why I would recommend it.
The GDR film studio "DEFA" was famous for its well-acted classical adaptations of classic novels and plays that stuck very closely to the original as far as plot, dialogues, set decoration and costumes are concerned. "Viel Lärm um Nichts" (Much Ado About Nothing), based on the play by William Shakespeare, is a typical example of that. Although entirely filmed in a studio, the production is a very funny and entertaining adaptation that creates a Shakespearean atmosphere by using contemporary costumes and set decoration. This colourful scenery is the perfect background for the actors, who are giving very good performances, above all Rolf Ludwig, who is able to portray Benedict's development from the mocking bachelor to the loving husband convincingly. Although I generally prefer Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of the play, this film tops it in some parts: for example, the scenes with the stupid men of the guard are far better and funnier here than in the 1992 version. All in all, I strongly recommend this film because it makes you feel as if you were watching a very good stage production. I'm sure that Shakespeare would have liked it.
This is one of the boring episodes of the "Tatort" series because the case is just unspectacular: The question is if the victim was pushed down the balcony by the unscrupulous manager or if she committed suicide to have him imprisoned - the solution is only too foreseeable. Although the film has some good actors in it, I couldn't help yawning after watching some minutes because the script is very poor. Moreover, I was disappointed by the character of superintendent Ehrlicher: It seems as if he still can't cope with the reunification. And if he is not nostalgic, the only other thing he seems to be interested in is food and drinks. Some German journalists call him "the German Columbo", but I would like to add a decisive difference: Columbo only pretends to be a bit slow ... Nevertheless, you can't help liking him somehow although he is not as discriminating as other detectives. Let's hope for better and more suspense-packed cases and episodes.
This German TV film is a remake of the 1975 "Sunshine Boys", but it is not able to hold a candle to the original, of course. Although they stuck to the play and didn't include new lines, the problem are the leading actors. I don't mind that they are old, but they seem to be very tired and burnt out. That goes in particular for Carl - Heinz Schroth who portrays Willie Clark as a run - down pensioner and is far too melancholic. He spoils so many lines that you can easily fall asleep while watching this performance. Johannes Heesters (he is still alive and had his 100th birthday last December) turns on the old charm but he isn't funny either. So when you want to enjoy Neil Simon's classic comedy, watch out for the 1975 Matthau / Burns version or the 1995 Falk / Allen version.
This German TV film is based on a theatre production of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" which also starred Heiner Lauterbach as Oscar and Uwe Ochsenknecht as Felix. The setting is Munich, Blanche and Francis are called Beate and Franzi, and they pay in Euros. But all these changes would not have been necessary. Besides, the whole film looks very cheap. It seems to have been filmed with a home camera and the set decoration is in very bad taste. But the worst of it are the leading actors. Ochsenknecht as well as Lauterbach mumble to such an extent that many gags get lost just because these two guys aren't able to open their mouths. Moreover, they are not able to transport the fun and wit of Simon's lines, they are just not funny and I didn't even laugh once. Neil Simon doesn't deserve such an amateurish production and neither do the spectators. So when you want to enjoy his brilliant comedy, watch out for the 1967 version starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. That's the definitive production of "The Odd Couple".