Friday, May 01, 2015

Die Koffer des Herrn O.F.

1931, Germany, directed by Alexis Granowsky

A delight from start to finish, funny but also biting in its satire of frenzied speculation, something that must have had quite a resonance for the audience of 1931, after more than a decade of economic turmoil of one kind or another. As a critique of capitalism, it would pair well with Capra's American Madness; the films are quite different in tone but both are very good on the essential craziness of the system as it prevailed then (and now), and the German film makes especially good use of a few fantasy sequences. Lorre is such a distinctive performer, entirely apt for the double-speak of the role of small-town newspaper editor/booster. I was initially distracted by the regular appearance of the word "Verboten" on the print, from German TV, especially because it seemed to crop up at irregular intervals and stay for unpredictable lengths of time. Eventually, though, with the assistance of some reading research, I figured out that this represented the location of the many and varied cuts made by the Nazi regime a year later, so the print in circulation for the rest of the 1930s was radically cut to remove unapproved personnel, songs, and incidents.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States