Tue

20/07

Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 14:30

Ein jeder hat mal Glück/DIE MÖRDER SIND UNTER UNS

Wolfgang Staudte
Introduced by

Olaf Möller

Projection
Info

Tuesday 20/07/2021
14:30

Subtitle

Original version with subtitles

Book

EIN JEDER HAT MAL GLÜCK

Film Notes

For a long time, this little farce about mistaken identities, Staudte’s fiction debut, was missing from his official filmographies. This could be considered symbolic. Staudte’s first decade as a director, during which he learned the craft of filmmaking by working on a few documentaries and doing commercials galore, is rarely looked at seriously. That is a mistake, of course, as there’s a lot of Staudte in these efforts – his own documentary Zwischen Sahara und Nürburgring (1936) as well as his work on Ulrich Bigalke’s Deutsche Siege in drei Erdteilen (1938) and Richard Scheinpflug’s Schnelle Straßen (1937) testify to his life-long passion for fast cars, while the plot moves of Ein jeder hat mal Glück reappear in different variations, especially in his early features which often centre on stolen, hidden or ambiguous identities. Instead, critics focus on Staudte’s work as an actor in film and radio during these years, as his bit-player stints in some of the more notorious examples of Nazi cinema (Veit Harlan’s Jud Süß, 1940; Arthur Maria Rabenalt’s Riding for Germany, 1941) can be mined for virtue signalling… As if the auteur behind Die Mörder sind unter uns which was born from Staudte’s feeling of guilt over these acts of collaboration, needed someone to remind him of his weaknesses! As an artist, he would never be a coward again.

Olaf Möller

 

 

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Wolfgang Staudte. F.: Adolf Otto Weitzenberg. Int.: Fritz Reim, Loni Heuser, Ino Wimmer, Erich Gast, Else Malti, Eberhard Leithoff. Prod.: Ethos-Film GmbH

DIE MÖRDER SIND UNTER UNS

Film Notes

In the rubble of war-wasted Berlin, demobbed military surgeon Dr Hans Mertens meets Susanne Wallner, photographer-illustrator and concentration camp survivor. Later, he’ll also meet a man he thought to be dead: Ferdinand Brückner, who as a Wehrmacht officer was responsible for a massacre on Christmas Eve in 1942, and is now busy getting rich by turning steel helmets into cooking pots. Mertens believes that killing Brückner might help atone for his guilt over his own weakness, but… Die Mörder sind unter uns was the first fiction feature that went into production in the occupied territory of the German Reich, following the unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. The film was produced by a body that would become the DEFA. Staudte was one of its ‘founding minds’, per his attendance of the meeting in the Adlon Hotel on 22 November 1945. The original draft for Die Mörder sind unter uns (then called Der Mann den ich töten werde) seems to have been written while the Reich was still at war, imagining the peace to come, which is interesting to consider with regards to the film’s Expressionism-heavy aesthetics. Commonly, Die Mörder sind unter uns is seen as part of a brief period in the immediate postwar years when German arts harked back to the days right after the end of WWI for ways to reflect (on) the horrors of the most recent past. For example in literature, there was Wolfgang Borchert’s audio play Draußen vor der Tür (The Man Outside, 1947) and Walter Kolbenhoff’s novel Von unserem Fleisch und Blut (1947); bear in mind that when Wolfgang Liebeneiner adapted Borchert’s piece in 1949 with Liebe 47 (Love ’47), it was already deemed outmoded. Looking more closely into the production of the years 1944-45, we see several titles with a stridently noirish look and feel, such as Harald Braun’s Der stumme Gast (The Silent Guest, 1945) or Hans Schweikart’s Die Nacht der Zwölf (Night of the Twelve, 1944-49). So perhaps one should consider Die Mörder sind unter uns as part of a transitional period from war to peace.

Olaf Möller

 

 

Cast and Credits

. Sog.: Wolfgang Staudte. Scen.: Wolfgang Staudte, Eberhard Keindorff, Johanna Sibelius, Fritz Staudte. F.: Friedl Behn-Grund, Eugen Klagemann. M.: Hans Heinrich. Scgf.: Otto Hunte, Bruno Monden, Alfred Schulz. Mus.: Ernst Roters. Int.: Wilhelm Borchert (Hans Mertens), Hildegard Knef (Susanne Wallner), Arno Paulsen (Ferdinand Brückner), Erna Sellmer (signora Brückner), Christian Blackwood (Otto Brückner), Michael Günther (Herbert), Robert Forsch (Mondschein), Elly Burgmer (madre del bambino malato), Marlise Ludwig (Sonja). Prod.: Herbert Uhlich per DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme, Deutsche Film AG 35mm