Scen.: Helmut Käutner, Ellen Fechner, Rudolf Jugert. F.: Igor Oberberg. M.: Luise Dreyer-Sachsenberg, Wolfgang Wehrum. Scgf.: Robert Herlth, Gerhard Ladner, Max Seefelder. Mus.: Bernhard Eichhorn. Int.: Hans Söhnker (Martin Delius), Hildegard Knef (Christine Fleming), Irene von Meyendorff (Angelika Rösch), Willy Fritsch (se stesso), Fritz Odemar (l’autore), Peter Hamel (il regista), Erich Ponto (il signor Schichtholz), Carsta Löck (la signora Schichtholz), Annemarie Holtz (Viktoria Luise Winkler), Margarete Haagen (Emma, la governante). Prod.: Helmut Käutner per Camera-Filmproduktion GmbH. 35mm. D.: 99’. Bn.
How to talk about the past, the present and the future? What kind of a film can you make two, three years after the end of WWII? Is it okay to make a comedy? If you deal with problems, what would be their nature? And it follows: who could or should be the protagonists? A love story is always interesting, of course, especially when it contains an element of class antagonism, as it does here with Martin (bourgeois of the hour Hans Söhnker) and Christine (‘Rubble Films’ diva Hildegard Knef) as the main characters. Their story begins during the war, and takes a hard turn after the Reich’s capitulation – but how will it continue if it continues? So, yes, Film ohne Titel is a film about the making of a film – a film like the country Germany should become, so to speak. Which is to say that the discussions that comprise the best part of the film are effectively attempts at making an argument for the kind of state the nascent nation should be. There are no doubt-riddled thoughts here about antagonistic twin states, or to be more precise, the film’s lessons are generally applicable. Helmut Käutner was the driving force behind Film ohne Titel as producer and screenwriter, while his erstwhile assistant Rudolf Jugert was given ample opportunity here to showcase his perplexingly versatile craft. Among the major directors of the period he’s the one who could do everything with equal reliability, yet never with genuine genius. One of the many lovely meta-movie ideas that Käutner and Jugert play with is the casting of star Willy Fritsch as himself – maybe the once and future Germany incarnate? It’s perhaps telling that the same Willy Fritsch would in play the average German of the 20th century’s first half in Erik Ode’s 1949 Herrliche Zeiten.