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Out of This World (1954)

An angel and a devil try to persuade a borderline wholesale bakery salesman to their side.


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Credited cast:
Ralph Clanton Ralph Clanton ... Red


An angel and a devil try to persuade a borderline wholesale bakery salesman to their side.

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ephemeral film | See All (1) »







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1.33 : 1
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The woman in the grocery takes a can from the shelf and in the next shot it is back. See more »

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Dreyer. Bergman. MST3k.
28 April 2015 | by johnny_burnawaySee all my reviews

This short is based on a morality play written by a German baker-turned-soldier, Klaus Erlichmann, who was captured by the French during the Battle of Verdun in the First World War. He wrote it in POW camp to thank God for sparing his life, and upon his release at war's end, the play enjoyed wide popularity in the avant garde theaters of Weimar Germany. Unfortunately, it was targeted by the Nazis in the 1930's during their push to eradicate "degenerate" art, and the only surviving copy was smuggled out of Germany hidden inside, appropriately enough, a loaf of bread. It found its way to the United States just as the war broke out and was revived for the stage by Bertolt Brecht in the early 1940's. A representative of DuPont Chemicals was in the audience one evening and, struck by the complex interplay of light and dark, bought the rights to make the film. This is the result.

A devil, Red, and an angel, Whitey, battle for the soul of Bill, a bread deliveryman. Whitey is confident that Bill will walk the straight and narrow, so much so that she dares try to tempt him away herself. Red is never far off, watching as Bill endures Whitey's assault on his work ethic, waiting to welcome him into bad deliveryman Hell. In the end, Bill emerges triumphant, explaining how a good bread deliveryman does his job and why he will never do otherwise. Light banishes Dark. Hope is restored. Bread is delivered.

The movie resonated throughout the world of international cinema immediately. Only a year after the film's premier, Carl Theodor Dreyer unveiled his own meditation on the dichotomy of faith, "Ordet". Ingmar Bergman cited "Out of This World" as a heavy influence on 1963's "Winter Light" in an interview with an obscure Latvian film magazine. And finally, its immortality was ensured when it was picked up by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew for some hilarious ribbing.

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