A peasant father sends his seven sons to fetch water for their sickly young sister but when he curses them for not returning soon enough, they turn into ravens and disappear. Many years later when the sister is grown up, she sets out in search of her brothers but that will be a long and dangerous journey.
This very gothic horror fantasy animation from the Third Reich is a masterpiece. It is based on one of the German fairytales by Grimm brothers and about 120 puppets were used during the production. Continue reading Ferdinand Diehl – Die Sieben Raben AKA The Seven Ravens (1937)
Propaganda film detailing the plight of ethnic Germans, known as “Volga Germans”, in the Soviet province of Manchuria. Continue reading Gustav Ucicky – Flüchtlinge AKA Refugees (1933)
“Mountain-film” specialist Luis Trenker plies his trade with his usual expertise in the Austrian Velorene Sohn (Prodigal Son). Trenker himself plays the leading role of Tonia Feuersinger, a Tyrolean mountaineer bound and determined to scale the American Rockies. He also wants to journey to the States to court pretty American tourist Lillian Williams (played by pretty American actress Marian Marsh). Leaving his broken-hearted local girlfriend (Maria Andergast) behind, Tonio treks to New York, but never quite makes it to the Rockies; instead, he gets a welding job on a skyscraper, then achieves success as a prizefighter. In the end, however, he realizes that his heart is still in the Tyrol and thus returns to the arms of his hometown sweetheart. Though aimed at the German-speaking clientele, Verlorene Sohn was financed in Hollywood by Universal Pictures.
— allmovie.com Continue reading Luis Trenker – Der verlorene Sohn AKA The Prodigal Son (1934)
Der Sieg des Glaubens (English: The Victory of Faith) is the first documentary directed by Leni Riefenstahl, who was hired despite opposition from Nazi officials that resented employing a woman — and a non-Party member too. Her film recounts the Fifth Party Rally of the Nazi Party, which occurred in Nuremberg from August 30 to September 3 in 1933.
Like her Nazi documentaries of 1935, the short Tag der Freiheit (Day of Liberty) and the classic propaganda feature Triumph of the Will, Der Sieg des Glaubens has no voiceover commentary and few explanatory titles. The activities captured by Riefenstahl’s cameras include the welcoming of foreign diplomats and other politicians at the Nuremberg train station; Adolf Hitler’s arrival at the airport and his meeting with important party members; massive Nazi troop parades; and Hitler’s speech on the tenth anniversary of the National Socialist movement. Continue reading Leni Riefenstahl – Der Sieg des Glaubens AKA Victory of the Faith (1933)
“The film is a melodrama in the high Sirk style (Leander is a cabaret singer in 1840s London who takes the rap when her lover passes a bad check and gets deported to the penal compound that was then Australia), but with a great deal of music, performed by Leander in the wrenchingly emotional style that has made her as much of an icon to German gays as Garland is to the US community.” Continue reading Douglas Sirk – Zu neuen Ufern AKA To New Shores (1937)
“Frauen sind keine Engel” was made on a moderate budget and has generally found not as much attention as that which has been rightfully accorded to his ‘Viennese trilogy’ made at about the same time. Please don’t expect the outward splendour of some other Forst films, even though script, acting and direction leave nothing to be desired. However, like many of Forst’s more important films this one not only provides great entertainment, but is also a thorough examination of the relation of fiction/art and reality. Continue reading Willi Forst – Frauen sind keine Engel (1943)
From “Film in the Third Reich” By David Stewart Hull
Karl Hartl’s ‘Gold’ continued the science-fiction trend of the earlier,internationally successful ‘Der Tunnel’. The story concerns a rich British alchemist who is convinced that it is possible to obtain gold from base metals by means of a giant underwater atomic reactor which he has built off the coast of Scotland. A good German scientist has been working on the same project, but he is killed and his laboratory blown up in a mysterious explosion. His assistant (Hans Albers) is semi-kidnapped by the British scientist, and sets to work on a new machine…
‘Gold’ was UFA’s superproduction of the period, and reportedly took fifteen months to shoot. Albers sued for almost double his usual salary, but lost the case. The film was also made in a French version with Brigitte Helm, Pierre Blanchar, and Roger Karl, which helped to account for the long production period. Continue reading Karl Hartl – Gold (1934)