1941-1950AdventureFantasyGermanyJosef von BákyThird Reich Cinema

Josef von Báky – Münchhausen AKA The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1943)

This lavish, impudent, adult fairy tale takes the viewer from 18th-century Braunschweig to St. Petersburg, Constantinople, Venice, and then to the moon using ingenious special effects, stunning location shooting.


The character of Baron Münchhausen is a bit of an obsession with me. I’ve read every book about him I could get my hands on, and even made a pilgrimage or two down the Märchenstraße (Fairytale Road) in Northern Germany to visit his manor house/museum.

There are an awful lot of Münchhausen movies out there as well, some terrible, some sublime, and some cleaving right down the middle. In the pantheon of Baron M. films, this 1943 German version rates just slightly below Karel Zeman’s luminous masterpiece of live actors and stop-action animation, Baron Prášil. This film is beautiful in its own right, filling each frame with sumptuous scenery and costumes, saturated colors, brilliant in-camera effects, and sly, philosophical dialogue about shunning authority and seeking out all that life has to offer.

It’s a shame that this film hasn’t been more widely seen, but it’s gotten an undeserved reputation as being a Nazi propaganda film because it was made during WWII on the orders of Joseph Goebbels himself, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of UFA Studios. In fact, it’s a clever bait-and-switch on the Reichsfilmkammer. Screenwriter Erich Kästner was actually a blacklisted Jew, who had his books burned by the Nazis, and had to spirit his girlfriend out of Germany to escape the deathcamps. Kästner’s script is filled with concealed slams against his Nazi overloads, which they were apparently too arrogant (or stupid) to detect.

The result is truly a gorgeous, subversive masterpiece which should be required viewing in every film class as a primer on how to produce a movie with a message that comes through loud and clear, without beating the audience over the head with it. James Cameron and Matt Damon, are you listening?

2.71GB | 1h 57mn | 792×576 | mkv




      1. *OR*, you could just download this: https://subscene.com/subtitles/the-adventures-of-baron-munchausen-mnchhausen/english/365002

        Watched this copy last night, and did not notice any subs issues worth mentioning. (Rename so that both files share the same exact name,, other than the movie itself ending in .MKV and the EN subs file ending in .SRT). It may depend on just what playback device you happen to be using, but here this brought up a choice between two sub files: the one inside the .MKV container vs. the external one, which could possibly be listed as “Unknown.” I must have chosen the right one.

        Incidentally, *this* 1943 Munchausen edition is based on the 4K restoration, which involved a lot of work, drawing upon the best known surviving film and sound elements.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button