CAROLE LOMBARD - My Favorite Actress

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Be My Guest - Irene: Question #3 - What are some of the best films your country has made that you would like to let more people know about?

What are some of the best films your country has made that you would like to let more people know about?

Okay – let’s tart: I will just pick 4 films – in chronological order.. and there aren't that much comedies because I the one I like are mostly my favourites because of their wit - which is hard to transfer into other languages I think..:

1. M (1931) by Fritz Lang was his first talkie. It’s an amazing film and Peter Lorre is simply a genius - and one of my favourite actors, too..

The story is quite simple: A serial child murderer is terrorizing Berlin. Every man is under a cloud. Not only is the police after the murderer (Peter Lorre) but also the criminals of Berlin. Finally they get him after a very exciting chase and by having the back of his coat marked with the letter “M” written with chalk. (“M” for German “Mörder” = “murderer”..) They form kind of a trial - I don’t know if “Kangaroo court” is the right term for it.. - with the most important criminals as head of the jury.. And at this point Peter Lorre has his grand moment doing a marvelous monologue..

This film has a fine cast – which includes German theater legend Gustaf Gründgens – whose private life always was good for a story: his homosexuality, his collaboration with the Nazi party during 3. Reich etc… - and two of my favourite German actors: Paul Kemp and Theo Lingen and of course there is – did I mention him before?? - Peter Lorre!!!

2. THE AFFAIRS OF JULIE (1958) by Helmut Käutner. The German title is DIE ZÜRCHER VERLOBUNG = “Zurich engagement”.

It is a light comedy – and maybe doesn’t work in translation.. It’s one of my all-time favourite films– and I could watch it for ages.. Ok, Monty – I know you said “best film”.. But I just love this one! So maybe it’s no Academy (or Montie..) award material – but still.. – it has a prominent place in my heart..

Monty: Irene it doesnt have to be award winning to me, just that its one of your faves.

The story is about a sassy young woman -Julie (Lilo Pulver – who I adore.. you may know her as Fräulein Ingeborg of ONE, TWO, THREE (1961) by Billy Wilder) At her uncle’s dentist’s surgery where she is jobbing she meets a handsome Swiss doctor - Jean (Paul Hubschmid – who had a very short career in Hollywood as Paul Christian..) – who brings his grumpy best friend called Buffalo (I translated that into English.. – it’s “Büffel” in German) to urgent care.. Julie falls immediately for Jean – but he has to go back to Switzerland.

She makes up a story about herself and that gorgeous Swiss and sells it to a famous film studio – and guess who is the director to make this film? Exactly! It’s Buffalo (Bernhard Wicki – great director in real life just btw…)! Of course he knows that nothing happened between Jean and Julie – but he likes to tease her –and she won’t admit that she dreamed it up – so she invents another Swiss man to be her beau.. Well, and Buffalo offers her to bring her to Switzerland to celebrate her engagement to that nonexistent Swiss man.. – Meanwhile Buffalo had noticed that he has a soft spot for Julie because she reminds him of his late wife.. But there is also Julie’s ex-lover who wants to crawl back into her bed and – surprise! – finally they meet Jean again.. – and Buffalo also employed a not so talented elderly actor to pretend to be Julie’s fiancé..

This film is total kitsch. And fun. I love Buffalo for being so down to earth – and Julie being so cheeky.. It’s kind of classic German 50s entertainment – not very highbrow but quite lovely..

Actually there is a TV remake of this film with Christoph Waltz (Col. Hans Landa of INGLORIOUS BASTERDS (2009)...) as Buffalo (..if you can imagine that..) – but I didn’t watch that one.. – Sorry, if talked too much about that film..

Monty: There was no video to be found of this movie so I took the liberty of posting this pic for Irene. And this movie sounds very interesting to me. Would love to see it.

Film Still

3. THE BRIDGE (1959) / DIE BRÜCKE by Bernhard Wicki (yes, indeed – Buffalo himself..) is based on actual events:

1945. WWII is almost over and a bunch of seven boys at the age of 16 years whose life basically is filled with pretty normal stuff like first love (resp. sex), school and family issues… - suddenly has to defend a bridge against the approaching American army. The boys are idealistic and very much into their Nazi-education of course – proud to fight for the “Führer” – but very soon all the excitement is gone – they’re just boys dying horrible and nonsense deaths for actually nothing – (just by the way: this bridge isn’t even important at all...)

This film was one of those my father made sure for us to watch. And at least my class watched it at school, too. A great German anti-war film – probably the best. It is so intense that it simply gets stuck into your mind.

4. THE EXPERIMENT (2001) / DAS EXPERIMENT by Oliver Hirschbiegel. It is based on the Stanford prison experiment of 1971 by Philip Zimbardo – which means: yeah! It’s based on actual events, too. There is a straight-to-video remake with Adrien Brody - just btw...

By choice 20 men are joining a psychological research experiment in which a prison situation is simulated – the men were divided into two groups – 10 become prisoners and the other 10 become guards. A group of scientists is watching their behavior.

First all the men have fun and take it as a game but soon the mood is changing and the volunteers are starting kind of a mind war against each other and the situation escalates – but the majority of the scientists still wants to find out what will happen next…

This film is friggin heavy stuff! And it’s really great! Well, creepy - but great! Watch it and discuss later whether you would have been a guard or a prisoner.. ;”)

Monty: Thank you Irene for these wonderful selections from your native land of Germany. You have broadened my tastes in films that much more.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Irene, thank you for sharing these wonderful films that I have never heard of with us..


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