Next screening is acclaimed German director Helmut Käutner’s first colour movie – banned by the censorship of the third Reich because the film was considered too “anti-heroic” and demoralizing
1944. 105 min., dir. H Käutner, starring Hans Albers, Ilse Werner, Hans Söhnker, Hilde Hildebrand and Gustav Knuth, German with English subtitles
TIME: 17h00
VENUE: Howard College, MTB North Wing 1st Floor, German Programme, Media Room F251
About the film:
The former sailor, Hannes, is a solo-entertainer in the “Hippodrom” in Hamburg, which belongs to his love Anita and is located on the “Grosse Freiheit”, a red-light district in the city.  Shortly after a reunion party with three old acquaintances, Hannes has to visit his brother in the hospital, who is dying.  His brother begs him on his death bed to seek out Gisa, a woman he once let get away, and marry her.  Hannes finds her in southern Germany and returns to Hamburg with her, where they are to get married.  On the night, on which he is to be engaged to her, Gisa comes home and informs Hannes that she has chosen someone else.  Hannes understandably leaves Gisa and abandoning his real love Anita and the Hippodrom, returns to sea with his friends. Directed by Helmut Käutner in 1943/44, this film enjoyed enormous post-war popularity in both East and West Germany.  Käutner makes stunning use of the new Agfacolor material, and Hamburg never looked more mystical. The film was shot on location and in Berlin, but after massive air raids on both cities, was completed in Prague. Göbbels didn’t particularly like this film and forbade it to be shown in Greater Germany. Therefore, German audiences only got to see this movie after 1945.  Hans Albers is brilliant, and for fans of his work, this movie is an absolute must.  The movie also features a couple of good songs, sung by Hans Albers.  “La Paloma” is probably the most remembered tune of this film.
Helmut Käutner (1908–1980) was one of the most acclaimed German directors of his generation. Originally working in the theatre as an actor and director, he began his film work as a scriptwriter before producing his controversial directorial debut Kitty and the World Conference (1939), which was withdrawn by the Nazi government due to its “pro-English tendencies.” Although active in the German film industry during the Third Reich, Käutner’s work was noted for its more humanistic depiction of daily life than his contemporaries. He rejected the UFA filmmaking establishment and produced thoughtful works which considered the struggles of the German people during a period of great turmoil. Käutner continued to thrive as a director after the war with such critical successes as The Last Bridge (1954), a stark, realistic war drama which won the International Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and Sky Without Stars (1955) which failed at the box office despite critical renown. Käutner moved to Hollywood where he produced two features for Universal Pictures: The Restless Years (1958) and Stranger in My Arms (1959) before returning to Germany to work in the television industry. The German Programme at UKZN has been presenting rare samplings of Käutner’s film production both during and after World War II.
For further details please contact:
Dr Marion Pape
German Studies
University of KwaZulu-Natal
School of Arts
Durban, 4041
Tel: 0027-31-260 1086 / 2380
Fax: 0027-31-260 1242
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