Lamenting Thebian women are waiting for the men to come back from war. God Jupiter is attracted to one of them: Alkmene. He goes to earth and tries to seduce her as himself: an old man. ...
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Lamenting Thebian women are waiting for the men to come back from war. God Jupiter is attracted to one of them: Alkmene. He goes to earth and tries to seduce her as himself: an old man. Failing in this, he disguises himself as Amphitryon (Alkemene's husband) and tries again. Next morning Amphitryon and his men come back from war; he suspects adultery and wants a divorce. Jupiter's wive Juno now also comes to earth and clears things up.Written by
jan onderwater <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Just like the Roman comedy Amphitruo by Plautus, on which the movie is loosely based, Schünzl's musical film-version is a very funny doppelganger comedy.
The romance between Amphitryon (then famous heart-throb Willy Fritsch) and Alkmene (Käthe Gold) is portrayed in rather conventional ways, but the real stars are the minor characters, then well-known comedians Paul Kemp (playing both Mercury on roller skates and Amphityon's drunkard slave Sosia) and Fita Benkhoff as Sosia's wife Andria. Their antics make this movie still worth watching. Similarly, Fritsch in his other role as aged Jupiter, bald and with beer- belly, and his tyrannical wife, truly ancient Adele Sandrock, then the grand old dame of German cinema, are very funny. Both Sandrock and Benkhoff were nominated for the 1935 Oscars, the only foreign actors thus honored that year.
Maybe the best part of the movie, though, is the way director Reinhold Schünzl, a half-Jew who had to emigrate to the United States not much later, slyly parodies German militarism, and that under Nazi-censorship and with SS men as extras (playing Theban soldiers in the mass scenes). I guess Hitler and Goebbels, who both visited the shooting of the movie, were fooled by the National Socialist realism of parts of the set (especially when the Theban army triumphally returns from war), and I guess they also liked the traditional way gender roles are portrayed in the movie (in the end, Andria becomes an obedient wife full of newly gained respect for her husband, the new Sosia (a.k.a. Mercury), and is rewarded with a fashionable hat).
In brief, this is a really funny movie, and I only wish it had already been re- issued with English subtitles so that Schünzl could receive the fame and admiration he deserves.
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