In reality, this first Swiss musical is a wild Pot-Pourri that subsumes elements from Vaudeville to Dadaism, and from Surrealism to the early phase of Concretism. It has been made in two different versions, a Swiss and a German one, and in both there is a cast of the best actors of this genre that Früh could wish and for him even later generations envied him. Many songs have become independent, e.g. the Butcher-Song of Margrit Rainer. The idea that Wendelin Pfannenstiel has won a fortune from an uncle in Australia who became rich by breeding kangaroos strives the genial. Clearly surrealist episodes like Pfannenstiel walking with his bear "August" along the shores of Lake Zürich have become as famous as certain paintings of Salvador Dali. Had Früh already his earlier movies ("Hinter Den Sieben Gleisen", "Es Dach Über Em Chopf") clearly declared as fairy-tales, he takes in "The 42nd Heaven" the last consequences and abolished every social angles by which his forms stories were still bound in "reality". The typical old-town-Zürich background shrinks into a mere decor (the episodes could be played everywhere), there is no homogeneous use of Swiss dialects anymore (Margrit Rainer speaks Zürich German, her "husband" Peter W. Staub,like Roderer, broad St. Galler German. The Bürgermeister (mayor) of Zürich speaks Bernese dialect (!),and Wendelins best friend Alfons speaks Basel German. Moreover, most parts of the narration are dissolved into songs which renders the story a specific lightness that we find back perhaps only in Jacques Demy's wonderful and miraculous works. A whole new genre for the Swiss movie has been invented by Kurt Früh.
Second, Kurt Gloor. Bad tongues say that Switzerland had since 1897 only two great film makers, the first names of both are "Kurt" (Kurt Früh: 1915-1979; Kurt Gloor: 1942-1997). In addition, Kurt Gloor studied with Kurt Früh directing and dramaturgy. However, while Früh sublimated mental processes into spiritual processes, Gloor was a type who had to go to the bitter end of everything that seemed unjust to him. And many things did. Besides the heart-braking story of the 75 years old shoemaker at Froschaugasse in Zurich who looses first his wife and then his workshop, Gloor treated various controversial subjects in his films, e.g. "The first days in the life of a Methadon-baby", "With one foot in the Beyond", or he showed the life of right-less foreign laborers in Switzerland who dwell 6 persons in 2 rooms. Very famous became his action during which he appeared one nice day with his whole film crew before the Federal Parliament Building. Gloor was a man of extraordinary talent and outstanding courage, but I also remember that day in 1997, shortly before my birthday, when the casket with him inside was carried out of my neighboring house. As it appeared, Gloor could not stand the enormous pressure on him anymore, he, who had believed in the revolutionary force of film. At that day, I thought: By filming only people who stand in the shadow-side of life, you cannot yourself stand in the sun; and nobody can stand his whole life in the shadow. Quite differently, "Konrad Steiner" is not a depressing movie, but rather a movie with an astonishing portion of hope, and it is full of unexpected non-schoolbook wisdom, like f.ex. when Steiner says to his half a century younger social working girlfriend: "Now, I understand, why we cannot life together: because we don't have the same future". However, if one listens very attentively, the movie is also full of bitter irony - and stands so in the best tradition of that strange crossing of Tragedy and Farce that is so characteristic for Swiss movies (and not only for the movies).
Therefore, some rather amazing contents in these movies from the later Fifties, are to be ascribed to himself as well. For example, both in "Oberstadtgass" (directed by Kurt Früh) and in "Taxichauffeur Bänz" (directed by Hermann Haller and Werner Düggelin), there is a case of attempted suicide. In "Oberstadtgass", it is the girl which just before had asked Postman Jucker desperately for a letter she was expecting from her boyfriend. In "Bänz", it is the character of Maxi Schell in one of his first roles (with amazing Zürich German) who plans to throw himself before the train in Kreuzlingen, after he had lost the rest of his money gambling in Konstanz, which belonged to a customer of his. While in "Oberstadtgass", it is Jucker who invites the suicidal girl to his quiet place with the rabbits in order to distract her from her bad thoughts and by the way conducts the marriage between her and a friend of him, in "Bänz", it is Bänz who comes like a Deus Ex Machina driven along the street with his taxi when Toni Schellenberg (Schell) walks into the night after having given up his self-killing plan. Whenever there is recently the critique of Streuli as a one-role actor, one has therefore not only to consider his last movie, "Der Grotzepuur" (directed by Mark M. Rissi), but also "Taxichauffeur Bänz" in order to qualify this judgment. In the latter film, we see e.g. a consternated Streuli alias Bänz seeking with tears in his eyes and drunk for help from his long-lasting girlfriend (Marianne Hediger) after he has accidentally hurt a bicycling child with his cab on Rämistrasse in Zürich. This is far away from the rumbling and jangling and nagging and accusing tyrant Wäckerli for which role Streuli is criticized so heavily nowadays.
Herbert Keller, the "Kommissar" is never alone but always encompassed by his 3 male and 2 female assistant. However, they are side-kicks. Although couples consisting of protagonist + side-kick were known a long time specially from British and American comedy in Europe, it obviously took a while until the reduction from 5 to 1 was established: So, Derrick has his Harry Klein (originally one of the 3 males of the "Kommissar"), and Der Alte has 1-2 (which are also known from different roles in "The Kommissar".
Kommissar Keller is a fatherly type, he smokes a lot and drinks even during work and in his office, the same is true for his collaborators, specially for one of the women. Nothing was aseptic like in a hospital these times, and in America, one can shed tears nowadays. While Keller's method is strongly instinct-based, his successor Derrick's method is first rather rude and unmotivated and grows to psychological analysis during the years. "Der Alte" is similar rather to Keller, but a lonely wolf - and he found his adequate end.
While "The Kommissar", "Derrick", and "Der Alte" nowadays rear their heads again, it is to deplore that the fourth series in the "club", "Die Unsterblichen Methoden Des Franz Josef Wanninger"/"The eternal methods of Franz Josef Wanninger" with the full-fledged Bavarian giant Beppo Brem in the main role, has been almost fully forgotten. All the four series together build a "Quadrumvirate" which testifies of German TV on the level of its best.
Postman Jucker and his wife had lost her one and only child, a boy, when he was 7 years old. When the sadistic Mr. Winterhalter intends to get Mäni's guardian, Mr. Jucker keeps the boy with him. However, this leads to big problems with his wife who connect overcome the loss of her own child. While this movie is a typical Schaggi-Streuli-movie (cf. "Polizischt Wäckerli"), its value, half a century after it was made, is mainly that it shows the enormous changing that Zurich has undergone in this decades. Where the lower-class people lived in their simple apartments, nowadays the richest of the rich live, all the apartments are fully renovated and brought up to a luxurious "standard". (A family apartment at St. Peterhofstatt costs today, in 2010, over 4'000 Swiss Franks, which is almost 4'000 dollars.) All the old restaurants still exist, but all have also changed into luxury establishments. It goes by itself, that the social cohesion between the families that live there is practically zero: one greets one another, but one would never stand together as they did 50 years ago in order to prove the innocence of the "abort-boy" (Hüüsli-Bueb) Mäni.
However, the deepest motives of the culprit remain mostly in the dark. We see him often visiting the grave of his little daughter that had "so much to suffer". But why did she suffer? Is it really convincing that we are to believe that Rohloff's shopping binges, his attempts to show even his family and closest friends a false facade, are simply to be interpreted as a surrogate action? Did a deeper reason not already lie in Rohloff's personality when he decided to become a policeman? It is true that his wife has a big impact on the crimes Ruhloff is doing, but he also abuses her for the might he gets in his house whenever he brings money from his robberies. Thus, is he not from his beginnings a heavily disturbed person incapable of dealing with might? His caring of his children appears more as a chumming up in order to have children on his side when the next attack from his wife comes.
If you want or not: Coming from a land where neither the coffee-shops nor the cleaning company nor the car-producers are nursing you, you will ask yourself: What is this for a land where the self-evident things are told even to adults, things which are know already by children in the rest of the world? Obviously, you conclude, here there lives a species of beings that MUST be told that, since otherwise nobody would go through all the pain and costs for all those warnings. So, you ask one of the inhabitants of this country, and he tells you that recently a lung cancer patient who had smoked for forty years sued Philips, telling the court-house that this tobacco company did not warn him of the dangers of smoking - and won the process. At that point, as an educated European, you may ask yourself: Are these really humans that inhabit this gigantic country between Montana and Mississippi, California and New England, because both the stupidity of their behavior and the credulity of their court-houses seem to contradict strongly to that assumption. You may also get suspicious when you enter a store and ask a cashier, who is just busy to serve another customer, where the paper products are. Unlike in any other country, she will stay calm, put on her most agreeable smile, show you her Pepsodent teeth and direct you kindly to aisle number eleven. When you then look at the people in queue whose time you have stolen with your stupid question, you will encounter the same artificial and mechanical smile remembering you perhaps of E.T.A. Hoffmann's Olympia and the unhappy Professor Mosh Terpin who invented her. Now you count one and one together, since you feel strongly that you are on a hot trail. Perhaps you remember the people showing up in the famous old American movies of the 30ies or 40ies: Hardly any difference to Europeans (besides the language), educated, cultivated, polite but not automate with a mechanical make-up grinning. Then, the most horrible suspicion comes into your brain: WHAT HAPPENED OUT OF THE Americans OF THE 40IES? -. They are gone! Absolutely for sure the people who nowadays inhabit America are nothing but aliens, placed on both sides of the Apalachians after the original cultivated race has been high-jacked, leaving back a class of low lives who are behind the Central African states in the international PISA evaluation of the world-education, who clothe in jeans, sandals and speak as if they are born with a chewing gum in their mouth, who love to play war, do not speak one foreign language and not even their own in a proper way - and, consistently, as you now start to realize, have to be told that hot stuff can burn, mirrors distort distances, water on soil is slippery, in one word: that one first has to close a door before it can be shut. And then, after a long time, you find this marvelous film: MEN IN BLACK, the title purposely without significance, so that nobody gets suspicious of its content. After having watched this movie, you, who understands, recognize that the crew who made this movie is obviously the last rest of people who could rescue themselves when their relatives had been high-jacked and replaced by the aliens. Working in the underground, they used the genre of comedy, again, in order to avoid suspects, because the low lives' Gestapo is everywhere! Even worse: In the film they abuse the Mexican minority in the southern rim of the US for suspect of being aliens, for example in the famous truck-scene where the two MIB search the trunk and find these aliens disguised as Mexicans. So, the message of this movie is clear enough: The few Mexicans in the trunk are the real Americans, while the majority around, the alleged Americans, are the aliens. IF SOMEONE INVITES YOU TO THE US, STAY AWAY, RUN AWAY AND HIDE YOURSELF.