1951-1960Alberto CavalcantiComedyGermanyMusical

Alberto Cavalcanti – Herr Puntila und sein Knecht Matti AKA Herr Puntila and his Servant Matti (1960)

This first film adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s play about class distinctions was made in 1955 in the Vienna Rosenhügel studios, but it was only premiered five years later. Curt Bois plays the rich capitalist Puntila who only becomes somewhat agreeable when he is drunk (which he is most of the time in this film). In his inebriated state, Puntila not only gets amorously involved with three different ladies but also suggests that his daughter Eva marries his chauffeur Matti. The chauffeur, however, doesn’t really agree…

While the film is probably less biting than Brecht’s original satire, this is nevertheless a very fine film which only at first glance seems to fit into the standard comedy fare of Austrian and German cinema of the 1950s. Looking closer at its absurd humour, much of it seems more influenced by Rene Clair’s musical comedies of the early 30s, and some scenes might even provide a hint of what was to come with the disrespectful comedies of the Czech New Wave a few years later. In any case, a hilariously funny performance by Curt Bois as Puntila, and excellent direction by Cavalcanti who uses sepia-toned sequences for the Brechtian ‘choruses’ and otherwise always keeps this comedy at a fast pace. Very fine score by the great Hanns Eisler, too. Highly recommended!

Length: 92 min.
DVD Source: broadcast on German TV, 2011
DVD Format: DVD5, PAL, 4:3, AC3 2.0 (mono)
Menu: none
Video: Untouched
Audio: Untouched
Extras: none




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Your email address will not be published.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.

Check Also
Back to top button