Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 17:45


Fritz Kortner


Wednesday 29/06/2022


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Leopold Pichler (Max Pallenberg) is the epitome of German bureaucracy: order must be upheld at any price, he insists, even if the world descends into madness because of it. His manic compulsivity, accompanied by a flood of mostly incomprehensible babbling, starts in the morning at the breakfast table and reaches its height at the office, where he is responsible for a bank’s finances. After a failed transaction he is afraid of being accused of embezzlement – and all hell breaks loose.
Stylistically, Der brave Sünder is an outlier in the programme: while the majority of German musical comedies at the time were influenced, directly or indirectly, by the operetta tradition and its light-hearted approach to love and romance, Alfred Polgar’s script is based on a novel by Russian writer Valentin Petrovich Kataev. So, instead of romantic entanglements and playful misunderstandings, a darker, satirical and at times absurdist variety of humour takes centre stage. Kortner, too, adds some inventive expressionistic flourishes. At the centre of it all, though, is Pallenberg’s one-man show. Like the director himself, the main actor was much more famous for his stage work than for his contributions to cinema. Derbrave Sünder was his first and only sound film – and he certainly doesn’t hold back, easily proving the cinematic qualities of his whirlwind act. Neither UFA superstar Heinz Rühmann of Die Drei von der Tankstelle (The Three from the Filling Station) fame nor Dolly Haas, flapper queen of early German sound cinema, stand a chance next to the force of nature that is Pallenberg in full flow. The only one able to hold her own next to him is Rose Poindexter, a black American singer who enters the scene during a particularly excessive party scene and introduces a welcome air of international cool.

Lukas Foerster

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal romanzo Rastratčiki (Gli sperperatori, 1926) di Valentin Petrovič Kataev. Scen.: Alfred Polgar, Fritz Kortner. F.:Günther Krampf. M.: Géza Pollatschik. Scgf.: Julius von Borsody. Mus.: Nicholas Brodszky. Canzoni: Fritz Rotter. Int.: Max Pallenberg (Leopold Pichler), Heinz Rühmann (Karl Wittek), Dolly Haas (Hedwig), Rose Poindexter (Kiddy), Josefine Dora (Ludmilla), Fritz Grünbaum (Klapka). Prod.: Allianz-Tonfilm GmbH DCP. D.: 91’. Bn