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Murderers Among Us (1946)

Die Mörder sind unter uns (original title)
After returning from a concentration camp, Susanne finds an ex-soldier living in her apartment. Together the two try to move past their experiences during WWII.

Director:

Wolfgang Staudte
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Hildegard Knef ... Susanne Wallner
Elly Burgmer Elly Burgmer ... Mutter des kranken Kindes
Erna Sellmer ... Elise Brueckner
Hilde Adolphi Hilde Adolphi ... Daisy
Marlise Ludwig Marlise Ludwig ... Sonja
Ursula Krieg Ursula Krieg ... Carola Schulz
Arno Paulsen Arno Paulsen ... Ferdinand Brueckner
Wilhelm Borchert Wilhelm Borchert ... Dr. Hans Mertens (as W. Borchert)
Robert Forsch Robert Forsch ... Herr Mondschein
Albert Johannes Albert Johannes ... Bartolomaeus Timm (as A. Johannes)
Wolfgang Dohnberg Wolfgang Dohnberg ... Fritz Knochenhauer
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ... Arzt
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Storyline

Susanne Wallner returns to the ruins of Berlin from a Concentration Camp after WW2 to discover that someone else lives in her apartment: Dr. Hans Mertens, the war made him depressive and he drinks a lot of alcohol. Susanne asks him to go but he doesn't want to, so they share Susanne's apartment and even discover their sympathy and then their love for each other. That encourages him a little, of course. But then he hears that Ferdinand Brückner is still alive and also lives in Berlin. Brückner was his Captain during WW2, he gave the order to kill more than 100 innocent people, many children and women among them, on Christmas 1942 in Poland. Written by Cinemator

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Thriller | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

16 August 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Murderers Among Us See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Deutsche Film (DEFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-issue)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was the first German movie after World War II. See more »

Connections

Featured in Großes Kino made in DDR (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Oh How Bleak
9 February 2010 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

The opening scene conveys the film's mood. A low-angle camera shot shows bombed-out buildings, rubble in the street, an abandoned war tank, a makeshift wooden cross stuck in the ground, and a middle age man walking alone toward the camera, as three children play amid the ruins. There's no dialogue, just jazzy, bouncy, upbeat piano music that contrasts sharply with the bleak B&W image.

Set in Berlin in 1945, the film tells the fictional story of a former surgeon, the man in the opening scene, whose name is Dr. Mertens (Ernst Borchert). He's dispirited and cynical. He meets up with a young woman, played by Hildegard Knef. The two of them share an uninviting apartment, severely damaged in the recently ended war. Knef's character is attracted to the dejected surgeon. But he's too disheartened to care. The deaths of thousands of people in a war render a surgeon's job of saving one life rather meaningless, according to Dr. Mertens. As the plot moves along, he reunites with an older, prosperous industrialist, a man whose attitude about the war is curiously indifferent.

All of the film's photography was done in Berlin, right after the war. The destroyed buildings and brick rubble are a big part of the story, symbolic of human devastation. B&W, expressionistic cinematography is terrific, with stark shadows amid the ruins, human silhouettes against bleak, cracked walls.

Interiors remind me of those in "The Blue Angel" (1930), dilapidated, dirty, cheap, drab, and very depressing. In "The Murderers Are Among Us", background music is minimal. Most scenes lack music, and the story is more potent for it. Sound effects consist of squeaky doors, footsteps on wooden floors, and other realistic sounds. The film's casting and acting are fine.

Historically significant as the first German film made in Germany following the end of WWII, "The Murderers Are Among Us" reminds us of the horrors of war. One scene near the end is unforgettable in its severity. Outside at night, with snow gently falling, arc lights create ghostly shadows. The surgeon stands alone amid the rubble, outside a damaged church where people inside are singing "Silent Night". Faces of the people are grim. What a bleak period in human history.


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