Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Little Man, What Now?

Little Man, What Now? Douglass Montgomery (Hans Pinneberg), Margaret Sullavan (Emma Merceau, Lämmchen). Photo from: Boîte à films / CineAr / Sunrise.

Mikä nyt eteen, Pinneberg? / Hur skall det gå med Pinnebergs? US © 1934 Universal. D: Frank Borzage. Based on the novel Kleiner Mann, was nun? (1932) by Hans Fallada.
    Starring Margaret Sullavan (Emma Merceau or Lämmchen), Douglass Montgomery (Hans Pinneberg), Alan Hale (Holger Jachmann). 98 min.
    A low-definition print.
    Viewed at Orion, Helsinki, 8 March 2005.

This "cronaca di poveri amanti" belongs to the basic love cycle of Borzage (Seventh Heaven, Man's Castle) and also starts his German trilogy (Three Comrades, Mortal Storm), continuing Griffith's sympathetic view in Isn't Life Wonderful. It also belongs to a noble trend in world cinema along with Vidor (The Crowd) and Castellani (Due soldi di speranza). It's post-WWI Germany, with unemployment rampant, politics in turmoil. The love story is beautifully handled, climaxing with the birth of the baby, simply as an image of hope in life. The social angle perhaps lacks in vigour. Starring the wonderful Margaret Sullavan, the rest of the cast is not as deeply engaging. Not quite a masterpiece. ***

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