Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 14:30


Wolfgang Staudte


Thursday 22/07/2021


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

Between 1955 and 1959, five feature films based on works by Nobel laureate Gerhart Hauptmann were released in FRG cinemas, starting with Robert Siodmak’s Die Ratten (1955), his first German-language production since he fled the Reich in 1933, and ending in 1959 with Dorothea Angermann, again by Siodmak. There was also a series of Hauptmann adaptations for FRG TV. This means that that Staudte’s Rose Bernd, his first full FRG production, is part of a trend – one which fused prestige and popular appeal, often in a striking fashion. Not that critics back then always saw it that way: they regularly claimed that the films failed their source materials by being set in the modern day. Let’s look at it the other way around and ask, what did filmmakers find in Hauptmann? In the cases of Die Ratten, Rose Bernd and Dorothea Angermann the answer would be: plots and characters for melodramas about women in revolt, fighting for social as well as sexual self-determination (Josef von Báky’s Heimat noir Fuhrmann Henschel and Reinhardt’s Vor Sonnenuntergang, both from 1956, offer, respectively, an elusive femme fatale and a modest lass whose unconditional kindness defies bourgeois cunning). These defiantly modern parts were also attempts at widening, maturing the images of their respective stars: Maria Schell in the first two and Ruth Leuwerik in the last one. The main difference is that while both films by Siodmak sport a noirishly realist tone with stark black-and-white contrasts and eerie splashes of dirty grey, Staudte chooses a melancholia of expressive colours and a discreetly minimalist set design. Another interesting detail is the casting of Raf Vallone as Arthur Streckmann, labourer and seducer – could he be FRG cinema’s first Gastarbeiter (migrant worker), albeit in disguise? That would make him a mirror image of Rose Bernd, who was turned into a Silesian refugee, just as Pauline Piperkarcka was turned into a Polish woman fleeing poverty and oppression for Die Ratten.


Olaf Möller

Cast and Credits

. Scen.: Walter Ulbrich. F.: Klaus von Rautenfeld. M.: Lilian Seng. Scgf.: Robert Stratil, Hans Berthel. Mus.: Herbert Windt. Int.: Maria Schell (Rose Bernd), Raf Vallone (Arthur Streckmann), Käthe Gold (Henriette Flamm), Leopold Biberti (Christoph Flamm), Hannes Messemer (August Keil), Arthur Wiesner (Vater Bernd), Christa Keller (Maria Schubert), Siegfried Lowitz (Amtsrichter), Helmut Brasch. Prod.: Gottfried Wegeleben per Bavaria Filmkunst AG 35mm.