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The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1943)

Münchhausen (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Adventure, Fantasy | 6 August 1943 (Hungary)
This lavish, impudent, adult fairy tale takes the viewer from 18th-century Braunschweig to St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Venice, and then to the moon using ingenious special effects, stunning location shooting.

Director:

Josef von Báky
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hans Albers ... Baron Münchhausen
Wilhelm Bendow Wilhelm Bendow ... Der Mondmann
Michael Bohnen Michael Bohnen ... Herzog Karl von Braunschweig
Hans Brausewetter ... Freiherr von Hartenfeld
Marina von Ditmar ... Sophie von Riedesel
Andrews Engelmann ... Fürst Potemkin
Käthe Haack ... Baronin Münchhausen
Brigitte Horney ... Zarin Katharina II
Waldemar Leitgeb Waldemar Leitgeb ... Fürst Grigorij Orlow
Walter Lieck Walter Lieck ... Der Läufer
Ferdinand Marian ... Graf Cagliostro
Hubert von Meyerinck ... Prinz Anton Ulrich
Jaspar von Oertzen Jaspar von Oertzen ... Graf Lanskoi
Werner Scharf Werner Scharf ... Prinz Francesco d'Este
Armin Schweizer Armin Schweizer ... Johann
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Storyline

This lavish, impudent, adult fairy tale takes the viewer from 18th-century Braunschweig to St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Venice, and then to the moon using ingenious special effects, stunning location shooting.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joseph Goebbels, Reichsminister of propaganda and also chief of the German UFA Studios, ordered this film to be made for the 25th anniversary of UFA. See more »

Goofs

Sophia's "beauty spots" disappear and reappear during the opening scenes of the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

The length of this film when submitted to the Film Review Office in March 1943, according to the Deutsches Filminstitut, was originally 134 minutes (or 3662 meters). This version was used for the premiere of the film at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo. Three months later, a second version (the general release version) was submitted, cut down to 118 minutes (3225 meters). After the war, the next version (December 1949) was 105 minutes, the 1954 version 101 minutes, the version for general audiences (shown that year) 88 minutes. In 1995, a first restoration was assembled by the F.W. Murnau Foundation, clocking in at 114 minutes. In 2017, a 35mm Agfacolor print was discovered at the Gosfilmofond of Russia. That print, which runs 131m (3590m), was restored and used for the 2019 Blu-ray release. See more »

Connections

Featured in Münchhausen - Ein Mythos in Agfacolor (2005) See more »

User Reviews

 
The Fabled Baron
21 April 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

You've got to hand it to that Josef Goebbels. When the little club footed maniac wasn't busy trying to get into the pants of every starlet of the German cinema, his UFA Studios could turn out some good work. Such is the case of the lavish spectacle Munchhausen. The color cinematography and special effects definitely equal the quality of anything Hollywood could do.

The Munchhausen Stories in German culture are akin to Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. The author Rudolf Erich Raspe was trying for Swift like satire of the political events of his time. In time though they became beloved for their face value alone. In fact the protagonist became a synonym, Munchhausen's syndrome is a diagnosis for one who tells exaggerated stories or outright lies the better to ingratiate themselves with another individual or a group.

In fact at the same time that German romantic cinema star Hans Albers was doing Munchhausen over in Germany, a different kind of Munchhausen was popular in America. Jack Pearl, a former vaudevillian, had a radio series based on the Munchhausen character and his famous line to those who questioned the authenticity of his stories was "Vas you dere Charlie". Quite popular back in the day.

The story of the fabled Munchhausen is told in flashback during a party in modern Germany by the current Baron Munchhausen . By the way, another reviewer said that it would be Germany in the Thirties before World War II started. Not necessarily because the Nazi regime was notorious for not asking the kind of sacrifices demanded of its civil population until late in the war. Such a lavish type party was definitely in keeping with the regime's culture of the time.

Though Goebbels kept it light as he did most of UFA's product except those that were outright propaganda, they did get their shots in. During the part of the film concerning Munchhausen's visit to Imperial Russia, the German background of Catherine the Great played by a fetching Brigitte Horney is emphasized. Catherine was a name she took when she married the Czar, she was in fact Sophia of Anhalt-Zerbst. Also there is a scene when Pugachev, the peasant leader of a revolt in Siberia, is brought in caged like an animal and looking like something from Dr. Moreau's laboratory. Pugachev was later played by Van Heflin in the film Tempest in the next decade. The caricature was definitely in keeping with the Nazi ideas to depict Slavic people as some kind of subhumans, almost as bad as Jews.

Throughout the film as Munchhausen travels from St. Petersburg, to Istanbul, to Venice and even the moon, Albers's faithful sidekick is Herman Speelmans who is like Sancho Panza or even Gabby Hayes if you will. Speelmans does a fine job and dies on the moon in a beautifully played scene.

As the propaganda is kept to a minimum, Munchhausen has survived to be appreciated on its own merits which are considerable.


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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

6 August 1943 (Hungary) See more »

Also Known As:

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(restored) | (premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Agfacolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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