4.7/10
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Bewildered Youth (1957)

Anders als du und ich (§ 175) (original title)
Klaus is a young man in post-war Berlin. He is drawn to his friend Manfred and, under the encouragement of their acquaintance, Dr. Winkler, explore the underground world of gay clubs and ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (idea) (as Robert Pilchowski)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Christa Teichmann
... Bankdirektor Werner Teichmann
Hans Nielsen ... Max Mertens
Ingrid Stenn ... Gerda Böttcher
... Klaus Teichmann
Friedrich Joloff ... Dr. Boris Winkler
Herbert Hübner ... Verteidiger Dr. Schwarz
... Dr. Schmidt
... Mrs. Glatz
Guenther Theil ... Manfred Glatz (as Günther Theil)
... Kommissar
Siegfried Schürenberg ... Staatsanwalt
Peter Nijinskij ... Carlos
Otto Graf ... Gerichtspräsident
... Jugendpsychologe
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Storyline

Klaus is a young man in post-war Berlin. He is drawn to his friend Manfred and, under the encouragement of their acquaintance, Dr. Winkler, explore the underground world of gay clubs and electronic music. His family begins to learn of his other life and do everything they can to set him straight. Written by Geoffrey Skinner <gskinner@stanford.edu>

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Never Before Has the Screen Exposed a Relationship Like This! See more »

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Drama

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30 May 1958 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Bewildered Youth  »

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(Klangfilm-Magnetocord)

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1.37 : 1
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Soundtracks

Weil ich gar nicht gern allein bin
(uncredited)
Performed by Marcel André
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User Reviews

Give a dog a bad name.....
19 January 2017 | by See all my reviews

The original title of this film and the title under which it appeared uncensored in Austria was "The Third Sex". This expression does not date from the "Hitler era" as one rather hysterical reviewer suggests but from the Weimar period. It was associated with the theories of Magnus Hirschfeld, who was not only openly gay but also Jewish. Two films had been made during that period, both hostile to the notorious article 175 of the German legal code. Both refer specifically to Hirschfeld's theories that there was a naturally occurring "third sex" whose orientation should not therefore be regarded as abnormal. Hirschfeld himself appears as the sexologist in Richard Oswald's Anders als die andern (1919) and Dreyer's Mikaël (1924) was subtitled "the third sex"

The reviewer is also wrong in supposing that post-war Germany was well on the way to reforming the law. It actually took a very hard line not greatly different from that of the Nazis. Homosexuals incarcerated by Hitler were not released in 1945 but obliged to continue their terms of imprisonment under article 175. The official view as represented by the film-censorship body the FSK was that homosexuality should be portrayed as a menace to society. The situation in Germany was very different from that in Britain where the Wolfenden Report in this same year advocated a reform of the law for which there was now a favourable consensus although the actual reform would have to wait for the election of a Labour government. Basil Dearden's 1961 film The Victim restates the case for reform but it was already in fact expressing a view endorsed by the Wolfenden Commission.

In Germany it was now much more difficult to make a film sympathetic in its treatment of homosexuality, more difficult than it had been in the much more tolerant atmosphere of 1919 or 1924. Although the Harlan film is based on a screenplay by Felix Lützkendorf entitled Eltern klagen an (Parents Accuse) designed to highlight the dangers of homosexuality,he also employed homosexual activist Hans Giese as scientific consultant for the film and very clearly intended it to be broadly sympathetic towards homosexuals and to shift German opinion towards reform of its archaic laws. It is, even in the original, a somewhat timid and clumsy effort but Harlan's intentions are not really in doubt.

The film does not portray homosexuality as "evil". The homosexual characters are not simply demonised, and the depiction of the gay world is not altogether unsympathetic. As other reviews have pointed out, the original film refers to the more tolerant attitudes in other European countries and is implicitly critical of German intolerance in this respect. The audience's sympathies throughout are with the tolerant uncle and mother, not with the hectoring, blackmailing father whose intolerance is clearly shown to be part of the problem.

Of course homosexuality is not "cured" by a heterosexual relationship but this is not really the intended message. Harlan is on record as believing that there were both those who were naturally homosexual (the Hirschfeld thesis) and those who were attracted towards homosexuality for other reasons (the case of Klaus in the film). Harlan typically hedges his bets, warning against homosexuality in the second case (n conformity with the official view) but nevertheless making a case for more tolerant attitudes with regard to the first category.

The FSK certainly had no doubt whatsoever about its sympathies and not only was the title changed for release in Germany (but not in Austria) but Harlan was obliged by the censors to make many small changes that greatly mitigated the message of the film (you can find a catalogue of these changes in the relevant article on Wikipedia).

The US was at this time quite as bigoted in its attitude as Germany but censorship was more relaxed with regard to foreign films and Harlan was able to release a version there under the original title (The Third Sex) which still omits material from the original (including, comically enough, cuts to the heterosexual scenes) but is closer to the original than the heavily censored version that appeared in Germany itself. This dubbed version is also available on Youtube.

It is ironic that, having been condemned for his wartime complaisance towards official German policy, to which he may have had no strong objections, Harlan should have been condemned again in 1957 for the changes that official censorship had imposed, this time very clearly at variance with his own intentions.

Jud Süss is not really the "genocide-inciting" film that. It is racist but its racial thesis is almost identical to that of The Birth of a Nation and its treatment of Jews and Jewish culture distinctly less caricatural and dehumanising than Griffith's treatment of blacks). It is entirely possible to sympathise with Süss in the film (in a way in which it is not really possible to sympathise with "blackface" Gus in The Birth of a Nation) and to feel that he is treated hypocritically when he is condemned - an interesting element in common with this film - by an archaic law. The mean-minded German bourgeoisie who take their revenge on him for his support of a petty tyrant (historically accurate enough) are portrayed in a not dissimilar to the intolerant father in this film). Jud Süss is in many respects a good film (it won the Coupe Mussolini at the Venice Film Festival and was praised by young Italian critic Michelangelo Antonioni) and would doubtless have been less racist had Harlan not had Goebbels breathing down his neck just as this film would have been different had Harlan not been up against German censors.

The trouble is that Harlan made little effort to resist Goebbels and was just as pathetically compliant with the censors in 1957, re-dubbing significant sections of the film and even re-shooting scenes at their behest.

Perhaps Harlan's real crime was simply a consistent lack of moral courage.....

.


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