Tag Archives: Drama

#16 – Götz von Berlichingen

(1927, Ger, 156 min original (44 min surviving), b/w) Dir Lupu Speyer. Cast Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Wera Engels, Alfred Abel.

The product, like the same years’ Metropolis, of the late twenties film budget excesses and, also like Metropolis, a less than resounding success at the box office. The two film’s paths have diverged since, with Metropolis accumulating praise and restorations while Götz von Berlichingen has never been easily available in any format. This reviewer, for example, has only seen it by virtue of the shockingly truncated copy held as part of the collection of a wealthy aficionado (whose name must remain anonymous). Loosely based on Goethe’s play of the same name, the surviving film includes the most famous parts of von Berlichingen’s life such as the loss of his arm by cannonball (rendered in full gory glory) and its replacement with one made of iron. In a move typical of the liberal national mood of the time, von Berlichingen’s famous statement during the siege of his castle at Jagsthausen – “…sag’s ihm, er kann mich im Arsche lecken!” – is included in full as a title card, something unthinkable before or after. It is perhaps this, in addition to the films irreverent attitude to a person who had both submarines and a Panzergrenadier division named after him by the Nazis, that meant that it was suppressed in the years that followed as ‘degenerate art’. It’s not a perfect film – at least as far as can be judged in its current form – but its well shot, well acted and deserves to be seen by more than the occasional dedicated hunter.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#11 – One for the Road

(1992, GB, 116 min) Dir Peter Medak. Cast Bob Hoskins, Peter Capaldi, Emily Lloyd, Maureen Lipman.

An adaptation of Hans Fallada’s The Drinker transplanted into London in the 1930’s, following Hoskins’ businessman Eddie Summers as he descends into alcoholism. Led down the path by a single bottle of wine, before long he’s harassing Emily Lloyd’s saucy barmaid and being cheated out of his money by Capaldi’s mild but scheming Locke. By the end of the film he’s incarcerated in a sanatorium, spitting at his wife (Lipman) and, in a haunting final monologue, wishing on his death for the dim promise of the one last drink it will give him, the ‘One for the Road’ of the title. Medak has the period setting down following The Krays and Let Him Have It and, perhaps feeling liberated after the previous year’s Super Mario Brothers, Hoskins gives a committed central performance that humanises a difficult, unlikable character. Despite fears that Hoskins’ salesman character and the period setting would invite comparisons to Pennies from Heaven this grim spiral out-bleaks even it. Unfairly overlooked on release, time has unfortunately rendered it more obscure.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

#7 – När jag föddes en Canary (When I was born a Canary)

(1983, Swe, 69 min) Dir Tomas Kinnaman.

The heart-tugging tale of the life of a canary as narrated, in a droll and deadpan voiceover, by said canary as he passes his life from one cage to another, ruminating on his circumstances as they occur and on the meaning of life in general. He is born in a pet shop, lives in the apartment of an arguing couple (and their interested cat) before moving to the country as the pet of a young girl who names him Nils and sets him free. He comes back, of course, after a night among the branches of a tree when he finds out exactly how big the world outside his cage is and how small he is in it. By the last moments, after Nils has been found dead at the bottom of his cage and his voice is gone from the soundtrack, when he is buried in a little box in the back garden by the weeping child – if anyone isn’t crying themselves at that point then they have no emotions and are possibly an alien.

www.imaginaryfilmguide.com

Twitter: @MadeUpFilms