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Edwin E. Reed
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Paul Korner is a homosexual musician who falls in love with his protégé Kurt. Unfortunately, the two are seen walking hand in hand by the blackmailer Franz. Though Paul agrees to Franz's demands at first, it gets out of hand and he ends up refusing to pay which has dire consequences for the lovers.Written by
Magnus Hirschfeld, a prominent sexologist, co-wrote the screenplay and made a cameo appearance as The Doctor, with whom Paul Korner consults. A scene resembling that of the modern-day LGBT scene existed in Weimar Germany, albeit underground, and the scene at the gay bar featured actual LGBT individuals. The screenwriter and author Anita Loos said of this period, in 1923: "Any Berlin lady of the night might turn out to be a man: the prettiest girl on the street was Conrad Veidt, who later became an international film star." (It was Hirschfeld who coined the term 'transvestism.') See more »
Respected ladies and gentlemen take heed. The time will come when such tragedies will be no more. For knowledge will conquer prejudice, truth will conquer lies, and love will triumph over hatred.
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Two male musicians fall in love, but blackmail and scandal makes the affair take a tragic turn.
Director Richard Oswald was bold in making this film and pushing the message that homosexuality was not a crime but a failure of society to be accepting. Especially at the time when homosexuality was blatantly illegal in Germany. Not surprisingly, the film was soon banned and almost completely destroyed.
Conrad Veidt was also bold for starring in it, even if he had not yet been made into a star for "Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" the following year. This was at least Veidt's second time working with Oswald, having just finished up "Uncanny Stories".
The plot is interesting in making the presentation that homosexuality is normal (definitely a minority view at the time) and the real crime was extortion from those who would blackmail closeted men. Although neither Oswald nor Veidt were gay, they clearly had sympathy for their brethren (Veidt was later better known for standing up for the Jewish community).
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