Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Die Kleine vom Varieté

Varieteetyttö / [The Little Girl from the Music Hall]
DE 1926. PC: Davidson-Film AG, for Ufa. D: Hanns Schwarz; SC: Wilhelm Thiele, based on the play by Alfred Möller; DP: Curt Courant; AD: Hans Jacoby; CAST: Ossi Oswalda (Ellen), Georg Alexander (Dr. Peter Kretschmar), Max Hansen (Fred), Vivian Gibson (Josette), Ferry Sikla (Jeremias Kretschmar); orig. l: 2290 m; 2262 m /22 fps/ 90 min
From: Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin. Restored in 2000. E-subtitles in English + Italian, grand piano: Stephen Horne. Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, 6 Oct

From the GCM Catalogue: "This slightly silly but very charming comedy stars a hilarious Ossi Oswalda, who delivers an energetic performance as a knife-throwing vaudeville artiste. She is in love with an out-of-work dentist (Georg Alexander) whose rich uncle (Ferry Sikla) insists that he marries a supposedly dreary girl from the country. However, her rival – played by Vivian Gibson – turns out to be anything but boring: a member of an all-female jazz band, she wants to become the talk of the town in her own right. Numerous entanglements offer Oswalda plenty of opportunities to display her famous temperament, play hide-and-seek in male disguise, and celebrate anarchy. As one critic commented (in Tägliche Rundschau, 5 September 1926): “Messer blitzen, Revolver krachen, es regnet Küsse und hagelt Ohrfeigen.” (“Flashing knives, cracking revolver shots, a deluge of kisses, and plenty of people get their ears boxed.”)
Today, Ossi Oswalda (1897-1947) is primarily known as the cheerful lead of several early comedies by Ernst Lubitsch, which earned her the reputation of a German Mary Pickford. In contrast, her films from the 1920s are forgotten, although she remained very popular with audiences and continued to appear in many films. Die Kleine vom Varieté (The Little Girl from the Music Halls) presents itself as a fast-paced, skilfully made comedy, once again allowing Oswalda to demonstrate her comic talent. Although her own film career was virtually over by the advent of the talkies, she is here accompanied by a group of outstanding cinema artists (directors Hanns Schwarz and Wilhelm Thiele, and singer-comedian Max Hansen) who would ascend to the first rank of German film-makers during the early sound period, and were forced to emigrate in 1933, leaving their imprint especially on musical films and comedies. Last but not least, Die Kleine vom Varieté was also the final film produced by one of the pioneers of German cinema culture, Paul Davidson, an early patron of Ernst Lubitsch and a former manager of Ufa. Davidson died in 1927. – Philipp Stiasny".

I like Hanns Schwarz, especially Die wunderbare Lüge der Nina Petrowna, and I looked forward to this film. The print was excellent, and the audience obviously liked this farce, but I was not quite convinced. I watched some 40 minutes from the start. - Ossi Oswalda seemed to have lost some of the spark she had in her great Ernst Lubitsch films.

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