Sunday, 18 August 2013

Travels With My Film-Life: Berlin, 1931 - "Emil & The Detectives"

Ah! You do think I may be deep in the rise of Hitler and such, here in 1930s Berlin.... But no....
I am enjoying the innocence of a ragamuffin childhood as I join village boy Emil, robbed of his money by a bowler-hatted villain who do drug poor Emil as he travels by train to Berlin to stay with his grandmother. (Moral: Do not accept sweets from dodgy strangers, children!) In Berlin Emil is helped by a friendly gang of children (aka "The Detectives") to track down the bowler-hatted villain and find a way to get Emil's money back. Watch out for the car-horn tooting gang leader. Toot-toot!

Based on the famous children's book  "Emil & The Detectives", written by Erich Kastner, this 1931 German version is by Gerhard Lamprecht and has a script written by a pre-Hollywood Billy Wilder.

This is the kind of kids story that makes me feel good. Not sure why. But I remember my favourite children's book was "A Hundred Million Francs" by Paul Berna... which is set in postwar France but in many ways is a very similar story... a gang of ragamuffins track down the villains that steal something precious from them.

On the same DVD as this German 1931 film is the BFI restored 1935 English version...
Here's an extract for you.

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