Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Das Spreewaldmädel / [The Spreewald Maid]

(Olympia-Film, DE 1928) D: Hans Steinhoff; SC: Viktor Abel, Karl Ritter; DP: Axel Graatkjær (studio), Alfred Hansen (location); AD: Heinrich Richter; P mgr.: Viktor Skutezky; cast: Claire Rommer (Annemarie, a girl from the Spree Woods), Fred Solm (Lieutenant of the Guards Leopold von Yberg), Jakob Tiedtke (Count Egon Oehringen-Oehringen, Leopold’s uncle), Wera Engels (Wera, his daughter), Eugen Neufeld (Regimental Commander), Iwan Kowal Samborsky (Johann Katschmarek, Leopold’s orderly), Alfred Loretto (Sergeant), Teddy Bill (Joachim Künzel, manager of the Milmersdorf Estate), Truus van Aalten (Steffi, pig-maid at the Milmersdorf Estate), Sophie Pagay (Frau Kornschnabel, Annemarie’s aunt), Wilhelm Diegelmann (Parson); filmed: Jofa-Atelier, Berlin-Johannesthal; première: 19.4.1928, Emelka-Palast & Schauburg, Berlin; censorship date: 18.4.1928 (B.18742); orig.: 2194 m (2200 m before censorship), 35 mm, 2148 m, 81' (23 fps); from: Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin. Deutsche Zwischentitel. Viewed at Teatro Verdi, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone, with e-subtitles in English and Italian, grand piano: Gabriel Thibaudeau, 4 Oct 2011.

Horst Claus (GCM Catalogue): "This film marks the first collaboration between Hans Steinhoff and Karl Ritter, who five years later would be responsible for Hitlerjunge Quex, generally regarded as one of the most effective propaganda films of the Third Reich. Set in a popular rural weekend escape along the river Spree south-east of Berlin, Das Spreewaldmädel [The Girl from the Spree Woods] does not give any indication of the kind of political productions that established both men’s reputations as staunch supporters of NS-ideology. Despite its military subtitle, “Wenn die Garde marschiert” [When the Guard Is Marching], it is a light-hearted peasant comedy about the misalliance between the housekeeper (Claire Rommer) of a country estate and an aristocratic lieutenant (Fred Solm), and the attempts of the estate manager (Teddy Bill) to win the girl for himself. Far from anticipating Ritter’s tedious bombastic military spectacles, this picture reflects the kind of homegrown, everyday cinema entertainment that was popular with mass audiences in Germany during the Weimar Republic, as it presented a nostalgic look back at the “good old days” before World War One, when people knew their place in society and military manoeuvres seemed to be nothing but games giving everybody an opportunity to hit the hay."

"Today’s spectators have the pleasure to acquaint themseves with one of the forgotten but truly big stars of the period, the charming Claire Rommer, whom audiences for years voted their second favourite German actress, after Henny Porten. There is also a small part for another favourite of the period, the delightful and funny Truus van Aalten from Holland, whose career – like that of Rommer – ended with the Nazis’ take-over of power. The film is an example of Steinhoff’s professional approach to commercial filmmaking, and finishes with a chase sequence of which any director of the period would have been proud." – HORST CLAUS

AA: I was able to catch the last half an hour of this amusing comedy with a hurried wedding (threat of the return of the cinema's obsession with the cancelled wedding!) on the Spree river. Wonderful visual quality in the print.

No comments: