Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 14:30


Wolfgang Staudte


Wednesday 21/07/2021


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Among Staudte’s most beautiful films are his narratives about children and young adults. Of this small group, Die Geschichte vom kleinen Muck is the only truly successful film as it became not only one of the most beloved films in the GDR but was also widely sold internationally (in 1955 the local bestseller adaptation Ciske de rat became a box-office bonanza in the Netherlands, but nowhere else). It is also, tellingly enough, the sweetest and most kind-hearted of the lot – and arguably the most light-hearted film Staudte ever made after 1945. It’s a story of friendship, hope and trust – a paean to all the values usually under attack in his cinema.

In some ways, Die Geschichte vom kleinen Muck was an accident, as it was made with the budget originally allocated to Staudte’s dream project: the international all-star adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children. When that production was halted due to Brecht’s cantankerous intervention, some use had to be found for the money, and so, this gloriously all-colour echt Romantic fairytale extravaganza based on Wilhelm Hauff’s classic was born. Not that this was too much of a curveball: Two years earlier, DEFA had already had a big hit with a Hauff adaptation in colour, Paul Verhoeven’s gothic Heimat film Das kalte Herz (Heart of Stone, 1951).

While it is set in the East, Die Geschichte vom kleinen Muck is a very German dream in designs and garbs styled after the way people in 19th-century Central Europe imagined those far-away lands across the Mediterranean Sea. The closest the film gets to anything truly Oriental are the scenes that were shot in the Turkish Bath at Albrechtsberg Palace, which was Prince Albert of Prussia’s tribute to his 1843 journey to the Middle East, in which he visited modern-day Egypt and Syria. Beyond that, it’s all Germans disguising themselves as people they deem wiser and kinder than themselves, and from whom they could learn a thing or two about the fundamentals of a decent life – hoping that dressing the way that they imagine other people to dress will bring them closer to their spirit.

Olaf Möller

Cast and Credits

T. alt.: Ein Abenteuer aus 1001 Nacht / Die Abenteuer des kleinen Muck. Sog.: dalla fiaba omonima (1825) di Wilhelm Hauff. Scen.: Peter Podehl, Wolfgang Staudte. F.: Robert Baberske. M.: Ruth Schreiber. Scgf.: Erich Zander. Mus.: Ernst Roters. Int.: Thomas Schmidt (Muck bambino), Johannes Maus (Muck da vecchio), Friedrich Richter (Mukrah), Trude Hesterberg (Ahavzi), Alwin Lippisch (il sultano), Silja Lésny (Amarza), Heinz Kammer (Bajazid), Gerhard Hänsel (Hassan). Prod.: Willi Teichmann per DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme 35mm.