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The Berliner (1948)

Berliner Ballade (original title)
After he has luckily survived the war, Otto tries to build up his new life in the remains of Berlin.


Robert A. Stemmle (as R.A. Stemmle)


Günter Neumann (story), Günter Neumann (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Gert Fröbe ... Otto Normalverbraucher
Tatjana Sais Tatjana Sais ... Frau Ida Holle
Ute Sielisch Ute Sielisch ... Eva Wandel, Bäuerin
Aribert Wäscher Aribert Wäscher ... Anton Zeithammer
O.E. Hasse ... Der Reaktionär
Hans Deppe Hans Deppe ... Emil Lemke
Werner Oehlschlaeger Werner Oehlschlaeger ... Raisonneur (as Werner Oehlschläger)
Erik Ode ... Narrator (voice)
Karl Schönböck ... Rundfunkreporter
Herbert Hübner ... Herr Bollmann, politischer Redner
Alfred Schieske ... Herr Schneidewind, Politischer Redner
Herbert Weissbach Herbert Weissbach ... Spirituosenhändler
Kurt Weitkamp Kurt Weitkamp ... Einbrecher
Franz-Otto Krüger Franz-Otto Krüger ... Einbrecher Franz
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Henry Morgan ... Narrator (US version)


Told in the style of the German cabaret theatre, where both Gunther Neumann and Gert Frobe were important members, this is a balladeer's version of a serious plot with musical interludes. The year is 2050 and the audience is asked to look at a telecast of 'The Ancients", from a century ago. Flashback to Germany, 1948, where Otto Normalverbraucher (Otto Averageman in the English-narrated version) is just returning from service in the German army during World War II. His experiences, told tongue-in-cheek, of the troubles that beset the average, law-abiding German citizen in post-war, war-torn destitute Germany and his awareness of the changes and problems are the bulk of the story. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


At last! High comedy sharply etched in the great tradition of the world famous Berlin Cabaret Theatre. See more »


Comedy | Musical


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Gert Fröbe's first film. See more »


Kopf hoch, die Sache wird schon schiefgeh'n
Written by Günter Neumann
Performed by Gert Fröbe
See more »

User Reviews

Extraordinary--a German language comedy with English voice-over
16 September 2004 | by albertsandersSee all my reviews

The place is Germany, the time is World War I. The hero does not want to be drafted so he does a number of remarkably inventive things. Like opening a tin of sardines, leaving it out in the sun all day, then eating it just before he goes for his medical exam. But he is drafted anyway. He is tormented by the usual stupid sergeant who, barking guttural commands, keeps ordering him to fling himself down and pick himself up. Except that the places picked for this exercise are knee-deep in mud.

The hero makes it through the war safely and one day in a Berlin street-car, hears an officious, strangely familiar voice bullying passive passengers. It is the conductor who is his old sergeant, in uniform again! Eye to eye, neither can believe what he sees. Suddenly the conductor starts barking orders at him and old reflexes take over; he flings himself to the floor of the street car. up, down, up, down. End.

The above doesn't give an idea of how funny it all is, but consider it was made in 1952, just seven years after the German disaster of World War II, and clearly by a German team wanting to ridicule German militarism and you see the possibilities.

The real humor, though, comes from the English voice-over of Henry Morgan, brilliant, cynical, sarcastic radio comedian of the 30s. I believe he wrote all the belly-laugh wisecracks in the commentary. They certainly sounded like him.

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German | English

Release Date:

31 December 1948 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Berliner See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Comedia-Film GmbH See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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