Scen.: Gerhard Lamprecht, Lupu Pick. F.: Ivar Petersen. Scgf.: Willi A. Herrmann. Int.: Lupu Pick (Erik Paulsson), Edith Posca (Karin), Johannes Riemann (Sebald Brückner), Fritz Schulz (figlio di Erik), Albert Patry (pubblico ministero Brückner), Eduard Rothauser (l’avvocato difensore Lundt), Bernhard Goetzke (governatore), Rudolf Klein-Rhoden (il direttore del teatro Costi). Prod.: Lupu Pick per Rex-Film GmbH. 35mm. L.: 2600 m. D.: 127’ a 18 f/s. Bn.
Tötet nicht mehr is both a passionate plea to end the death penalty, and a family drama. The director and co-writer Lupu Pick plays musician Erik Paulsson, who loses his beloved son after a peaceful yet critical poetry reading is raided by the tsarist forces. Paulsson, beside himself with grief, kills the officer responsible and is sentenced to life, which will mean 18 years in prison before he is free again. While he is inside, by a strange quirk of fate, his daughter Karin (played by Pick’s wife Edith Posca) falls in love with writer Sebald Brückner, the son of the state prosecutor, who indicted Paulsson and is a staunch advocate of the death penalty. The conflict between the fathers does not impair the relationship of the young couple. However, when Sebald’s long-desired success on the stage is threatened by a vengeful theatre director who had sexually harassed Karin, he is enraged and kills the other man in a fight. The prosecutor now must face the blow of losing his own son to the death penalty.
It can’t be a coincidence that Pick’s native Romania unlike most European countries, had abolished the death penalty in 1865. The fight to end it was a cause taken up by the labour movement and communists like Rosa Luxemburg. The film gives the political and abstract claim a human face and uses the emotional impact on the viewers to make its argument.
A new 35mm black-and-white projection print has been struck at the Bundesarchiv lab in 2018 using a duplicate negative produced in 1981 at the former Staatliches Filmarchiv der DDR. The records do not reveal which material was used in order to make this duplicate negative, but there are hints in the material that point at a tinted cellulose nitrate print. One hint is the varying intensity of fogginess in some scenes, which could be caused by different tinting colors applied to the cellulose nitrate print, duplicated on black-and-white film stock.
Adelheid Heftberger and Dirk Förstner