6.3/10
353
6 user 7 critic

Lowlands (1954)

Tiefland (original title)
Set in the early part of 20th century Europe. There lived a dancer who becomes the romantic bone of contention between a humble shepherd and an imperious marquis.

Director:

Leni Riefenstahl

Writers:

Rudolph Lothar (libretto), Àngel Guimerà (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Bernhard Minetti Bernhard Minetti ... Don Sebastian, Marquès von Roccabruna
Leni Riefenstahl ... Martha, eine spanische Betteltänzerin
Aribert Wäscher Aribert Wäscher ... Camillo, Verwalter des Don Sebastian
Karl Skraup Karl Skraup ... Bürgermeister
Maria Koppenhöfer Maria Koppenhöfer ... Donna Amelia, seine Tochter
Franz Eichberger Franz Eichberger ... Pedro, der Schafhirte
Luis Rainer Luis Rainer ... Nando, ein alter Hirte
Frida Richard Frida Richard ... Josefa, eine alte Magd (as Frieda Richard)
Max Holzboer Max Holzboer ... Der Müller Natario (as Max Holsboer)
Charlotte Komp Charlotte Komp
Mena Mair Mena Mair ... Die Müllerin
Hans Lackner Hans Lackner
Walter Brückner Walter Brückner
Bekuch Hamid Bekuch Hamid
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Storyline

Set in the early part of 20th century Europe. There lived a dancer who becomes the romantic bone of contention between a humble shepherd and an imperious marquis.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | Musical

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Austria | West Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

April 1954 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Lowlands See more »

Filming Locations:

German Alps, Bavaria, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This is the second Tiefland film that is based on the opera, the first one being Tiefland (1923). See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sensuous and Forbidden
26 February 2004 | by Prof_LostiswitzSee all my reviews

I'll get my ass kicked for saying this (so what else is new), but this is a great movie. The composition of the visuals makes it utterly compelling. The Spanish setting comes totally to life, and I speak as someone who has visited the country. The cruelty of the aristocrats, the desperation of the peasants, the sensuality of the señoritas…it's all typical of the place, and you can see it in Spanish movies like Los Santos Inocentes (1984). That this should have been achieved by a bunch of foreigners shooting in 1940 is a tribute to the genius of director-star Leni Riefenstahl.

LR was originally a dancer, and it shows in her superb command of flamenco dancing here. Having seen the real thing, I can swear that she is as good as any of the Spanish dancers who have grown up doing mudanzas and seguidillas. Being the director, she has the advantage of getting the camera to ogle her every sensuous gyration at close range.

The story concerns a gypsy beggar-dancer who wanders into a Spanish village, where a shepherd falls in love with her…and a Marquis falls in lust with her. It must be said that the more romantic scenes are cliché, almost like Valentino, but the more carnal scenes really give off sparks.

Riefenstahl's main concern is with nature and the mountains. The constant theme of the story is the contrast between the purity of the high mountain pastures (moisture and fresh air) and the corruption of the Tiefland (lowland) with its cruel aristocracy and downtrodden peasants - "the men are bad and the women are sick". The scenes of nature photography are first-rate, and anyone who hasn't seen Tiefland is missing out on a major part of the development of cinema. Especially of note are the fast motion scenes of clouds rolling in and lightning striking, also the opening scene with the shepherd wrestling a (very real) wolf. Many of the scenes seem to be directly taken from Goya's paintings of peasant life.

It is interesting to consider that LR's "mountain-films" may have been the ancestors of the spaghetti-western. Tiefland and The Blue Light have many of the features of a western, and could easily be re-made as such (although they would lack the animal magnetism of LR). Try comparing Tiefland to A Fistful of Dollars, you'll see what I mean.

Tiefland was mostly shot in 1940, though for various reasons it wasn't released until 1953. It seems that the extras in the film are gypsies recruited from concentration camps, so the bitterness they exude may be more than just acting. That peasant woman who snarls "you rat" probably really means it. In this sense, Tiefland is a movie about itself and a fascinating social document that takes us back through time and space. (One way we can sympathise with these people is to appreciate their performance for us here). There are even some who maintain that the love-hate relationship between the dancer and the Marquis is a comment on LR's own relationship with Hitler, although I must leave this to others more knowledgeable about European history.

I would like to thank the Imdb-ist who sent me a decent copy of this film, which I never would have thought to watch. You should see it too, dear reader.


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