Leopold Lindtberg

Sog.: dal romanzo omonimo (1936) di Friedrich Glauser. Scen.: Richard Schweizer, Horst Budjuhn. F.: Emil Berna. M.: Käthe Mey. Mus.: Robert Blum. Scgf.: Robert Furrer. Int.: Heinrich Gretler (sergente Jakob Studer), Johannes Steiner (dottor Borstli, capo clinica), Heinz Woester (dottor Laduner, assistente di direzione), Irene Naef (signora Laduner), Olaf Kübler (Herbert Caplaun, un malato), Adolf Manz (Georg Caplaun, suo padre), Elisabeth Müller (Irma, un’infermiera), Hans Kaes (Dreyer, il portiere), Otto Brefin (dottor Schwab), Emil Hegetschweiler (Gilgen, un infermiere). Prod.: Lazar Wechsler per Praesens-Film. 35mm. D.: 112’. Bn.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The actor Heinrich Gretler, whose very physical appearance  corresponded to the stereotypes then in vogue, was tailor-made for portraying the traditional Swiss qualities, and it was around his gruff, thickset silhouette that Praesens built the detective intrigue of Wachtmeister Studer. A fiftyish police sergeant investigates a phoney suicide in a small town in the Bernese countryside. Lindtberg was inspired by the detective novel by Friedrich Glauser (the intellectual mentor of Friedrich Dürrenmatt), whose virulent charges against society and anarchistic pessimism had to be toned down for censorship reasons. The filmmakers therefore metamorphosed the author’s criticism of the civil authorities into an opportune appeal to the moral and political vigilance indispensable in a democracy at every level of daily life; corruption or legal irregularities at the level of a village reflect, after all, the standards of the government itself.
In the film Gretler-Studer says: “All around us, people seem to know less and less what the word ‘justice’ means. Somebody (Goebbels) has said, ‘What is useful to us is right’; but the opposite, is even truer: ‘What is right is useful to us’.” In an indirect way the screenplay brings out certain aspects of the everyday fascism that slumbers in the middle-class soul (the villagers’ intolerance, the arrogance of the youth organized into S.A.-like assault groups, etc.). Situated somewhere midway between Marlowe and Maigret, with his worn gabardine uniform and cheap cigarillos, this Studer, magnificently portrayed by Gretler, won the immediate adhesion of the public and the critics.
The film turned out to be one of the biggest commercial successes of the season. On his part, Lindtberg with his sensitive direction gave witness to a so ereign mastery of the continuity of the storyline and a sharp feeling for psychological observation, very close to that of the French school of realism.

Hervé Dumont

Copy From

courtesy of Praesens-Film and SRF. Restored in 2005 by Cinémathèque suisse in collaboration with reto.ch Sàarl, Ecublens at Egli Film & Video laboratory from the original nitrate negatives. With funding provided by Memoriav.