Leni Riefenstahl – Der Sieg des Glaubens AKA Victory of the Faith (1933)


Der Sieg des Glaubens (English: The Victory of Faith) is the first documentary directed by Leni Riefenstahl, who was hired despite opposition from Nazi officials that resented employing a woman — and a non-Party member too. Her film recounts the Fifth Party Rally of the Nazi Party, which occurred in Nuremberg from August 30 to September 3 in 1933.

Like her Nazi documentaries of 1935, the short Tag der Freiheit (Day of Liberty) and the classic propaganda feature Triumph of the Will, Der Sieg des Glaubens has no voiceover commentary and few explanatory titles. The activities captured by Riefenstahl’s cameras include the welcoming of foreign diplomats and other politicians at the Nuremberg train station; Adolf Hitler’s arrival at the airport and his meeting with important party members; massive Nazi troop parades; and Hitler’s speech on the tenth anniversary of the National Socialist movement. Continue reading

Douglas Sirk – Zu neuen Ufern AKA To New Shores (1937)


“The film is a melodrama in the high Sirk style (Leander is a cabaret singer in 1840s London who takes the rap when her lover passes a bad check and gets deported to the penal compound that was then Australia), but with a great deal of music, performed by Leander in the wrenchingly emotional style that has made her as much of an icon to German gays as Garland is to the US community.” Continue reading

Willi Forst – Frauen sind keine Engel (1943)


“Frauen sind keine Engel” was made on a moderate budget and has generally found not as much attention as that which has been rightfully accorded to his ‘Viennese trilogy’ made at about the same time. Please don’t expect the outward splendour of some other Forst films, even though script, acting and direction leave nothing to be desired. However, like many of Forst’s more important films this one not only provides great entertainment, but is also a thorough examination of the relation of fiction/art and reality. Continue reading

Karl Hartl – Gold (1934)


From “Film in the Third Reich” By David Stewart Hull

Karl Hartl’s ‘Gold’ continued the science-fiction trend of the earlier,internationally successful ‘Der Tunnel’. The story concerns a rich British alchemist who is convinced that it is possible to obtain gold from base metals by means of a giant underwater atomic reactor which he has built off the coast of Scotland. A good German scientist has been working on the same project, but he is killed and his laboratory blown up in a mysterious explosion. His assistant (Hans Albers) is semi-kidnapped by the British scientist, and sets to work on a new machine…

‘Gold’ was UFA’s superproduction of the period, and reportedly took fifteen months to shoot. Albers sued for almost double his usual salary, but lost the case. The film was also made in a French version with Brigitte Helm, Pierre Blanchar, and Roger Karl, which helped to account for the long production period. Continue reading

Luis Trenker – Der verlorene Sohn AKA The Prodigal Son (1934)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us


PLOT: “Mountain-film” specialist Luis Trenker plies his trade with his usual expertise in the Austrian Velorene Sohn (Prodigal Son). Trenker himself plays the leading role of Tonia Feuersinger, a Tyrolean mountaineer bound and determined to scale the American Rockies. He also wants to journey to the States to court pretty American tourist Lillian Williams (played by pretty American actress Marian Marsh). Leaving his broken-hearted local girlfriend (Maria Andergast) behind, Tonio treks to New York, but never quite makes it to the Rockies; instead, he gets a welding job on a skyscraper, then achieves success as a prizefighter. In the end, however, he realizes that his heart is still in the Tyrol and thus returns to the arms of his hometown sweetheart. Though aimed at the German-speaking clientele, Verlorene Sohn was financed in Hollywood by Universal Pictures.
-allmovie.com Continue reading

Erich Engels – Sherlock Holmes – Die graue Dame (1937)


A bizarre cash-in, Die Graue Dame is a quasi-Holmes picture based on a theatrical play entirely unrelated to the works of Doyle and released shortly after the Bruno Güttner-starring Der Hund von Baskerville (1937). Here, young Jimmy Ward – played by Hermann Speelmans (1906-1960), who’d featured in the vile Nazi propaganda feature Hitlerjunge Quex: ein Film vom Opfergeist der Deutschen Jugend (1933), an immorality tale designed to drum up recruitment into the Hitler Youth – infiltrates a criminal gang, only to reveal at the last moment that he is, in fact, none other than an undercover Sherlock Holmes. One can only presume that the ‘John’ – who, according to the credits list, acts as Holmes’ ‘servant’ – was intended to be none other than the hapless Dr Watson. ~Alan Barnes, Sherlock Holmes on Screen Continue reading