A straight-laced German schoolmaster, married with twelve children, finds that his daughter has inherited a house in South America from her aunt, who was banished from the family for her ... See full summary »
Valerie von Martens
Valerie von Martens,
This was the first major German film project released after World War II. People flocked to the very few cinemas in the still mostly ruined cities just to listen to the exuberant orchestral rendition of "Gaudeamus" (Let us rejoice). See more »
A strange movie. Seems like Curt Goetz couldn't quite decide whether to make a comedy or not out of his play because there's a whole lot of melodrama around. In the face of two world wars, Professor Prätorius, a philanthropist and a surgeon, wants to exterminate the one danger to mankind, the microbe of stupidity, as he states in a spontaneous lecture to his male and female students. Later in that speech he utters what great a gift it is to women to have children (enthusiastic acclaim from all listeners). - One of the oddest takes here has Prätorius unnecessarily derobe the corpse of a young woman down to her waist, a seldom-seen example of nudity in early German post-war cinema.
Story proceeds in the same erratic manner, with rather rare swings to the comic side. The parts with the pregnant woman who attempts suicide and the valet who had been sentenced to death before are not funny at all, but serious to the core. They could, in fact, include some unusual statements on abortion, unmarried motherhood and death penalty but that might just as well be way out of the storyline. There is no nightshift stress or professional errors, on the contrary, Prätorius has time enough to conduct a student orchestra (the conducting scenes unfortunately add some self-admiring pathos).
The sound quality is not so good, due to the pic's 50 years of age, but camera work (Fritz Arno Wagner) is very satisfactory. Bruno Hübner is a sight to see as Shunderson, a rôle which might likewise have been played by Fritz Rasp (as it was in the remake fifteen years later). Valérie von Martens (Goetz' real-life wife) and Erich Ponto give proofs of their versatility. (By the way, that's an uncredited Horst Tappert who hands Martens her purchases in a five-second appearance during the surprise photograph of Hübner.)
We have a lot of learned uprightness in the story of "Frauenarzt", generating with a well-off doctor, paired with some funny ideas, but it leaves you unsatisfied: a strange movie.
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