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S.A. MANN BRAND - Film review - 15 June 1933 - Film-Kurier Tageszeitung newspaper, Berlin

This film will have a lot to say to some outsiders  and demonstrates from one angle how such a Movement came about – with such an overwhelming, unprecedented victory.

A strong breath of size, strength and sacrifice blows from the screen into the auditorium a few times. So when the Hitler Youth boy, Erich (Rolf Wenkhaus) from a cellar hole collapses alone on the street, shot by Red murder, the flag standard bearer runs towards him and for a moment covers the breast of this youngest believer in a protective coat with the ancient symbol of our Aristotle, the swastika. Or when Erich reads the letter of his father who fell in the field, on his birthday. Or even in his poignant death scene.

The little Hitler Youth boy Erich is very much in the foreground. The film could also have been named after him. Co–author Josef Stöckel also wrote a well–fitting role for his actor in the form of Anton Huber, home owner. How scary that his golden heart, pounding over his nicely padded dressing gown, is unfortunately so often over–emphasized. It is also not advantageous that his role at the end is completely bent into comedy, namely when he suddenly rebels after the news of Hitler’s victory as the hen–pecked husband, wants to drink wine, and resorts into often portrayed scene of a rabbit playing as a lion.

SA Mann Brand (Heinz Klingenberg) wears his brown shirt with a lot of decency, even if the manuscript writer did not give him great opportunities to play. He still finds himself with his role. The role of his father, in the form of Otto Wernicke, is excellent. In the course of the plot he, a convinced Social Democrat becomes National Socialist, and is touched by the authors with silk paws. Actually not necessary, because he can no longer ignore the momentum of this Movement. His wife is Elise Aulinger - a true proletarian mother who tries with endless patience to appease the hard–headed men - Father Brand and S.A. Mann Brand - Mrs. Lohner (Hedda Lembach) is characteristic and noteworthy as a mother who steadfastly brings up her child, the Hitler Youth boy Erich, in the national sense. A number of episodes which are consistently good,  follow. But the gentleman in S.A. Uniforms, which at the beginning of the film embarrassingly express their Meininger theatre style (*), must be cut out in all cases.

[* -Meininger theatre style -- stodgy, old-fashioned]

As far as the opponents of the Nazis, who also put a very good figure in Manfred Kömpel as squad leaders - as far as the Communists are concerned, one has to say that at least Max Weydner, as a Soviet agent, gives a hint of what the fight was all about back then, because the robber and gendarme game between Nazi and Commune on the street and in the bars cannot satisfy us. The fight was really different. Our wonderful Movement, which has an unprecedented struggle behind it, must not be diminished. These Red hooligans give a completely wrong picture of the period before the takeover. Vera Liessem is a very good Communist and secret lover of S.A. Mann Brand.

The manuscript made it very easy on many points. J. Dalman and J. Stöckel wrote it – both  badly and rightly. What the whole affair of the Nazi arms robbery is supposed to mean remains a mystery. One does not seriously believe that the boys take a car full of forbidden weapons and thereby do the most serious damage to their Movement. Don't you know what it was like rhen – that the Nazis could only defend themselves with truncheons or walking sticks? S.A. Mann Brand delivers twenty rifles to the Communists he wants to fool. This action also has little probability in itself. The fact that the scene where SA Mann Brand informs his comrade of the Communist weapons warehouse takes place behind the street window of all places, so that a listening Communist only has to open the window with a knife to hear and see everything, which almost makes me think that the authors know SA-pubs  only very fleetingly. In any case, the writer of these lines remembers from his active time that when things of this life–threatening meaning were treated, like the ostracized Christians of yore, one descended in the basement and catacombs and, at the same time, guarded the door and gate. The manuscript, which has good beginnings, drips in the end into the great events of the National Socialist takeover, which the reportage films have long shown us in authentic realism.

As I said, what was shown is only a detailed picture that cannot be grasped by the violent elementary events that are shaking Germany in every corner. The problems only touch the surface - especially for those who have been moving with their hearts and hands for years and who have more or less taken part in the difficult battles themselves.

It is an absolutely honest and best effort to attempt to film these things, which are almost historical, or vice versa, -- are they still too close to us? In any case, the film in this form is a reminder for National Socialists today. Three quarters of a year ago, the same picture would have been an event that would have shaken everyone.

One of the greatest elements that has often been rated as an artistic phenomenon could be the cinematography. Today it can intervene in the psychological: needy, relieved, relaxed, whatever is required of it. Franz Koch's black and white art, which is not very varied, unfortunately does not sufficiently support the visual drama, it does not "illuminate" the events enough, even if the best will is made. The sets also do not surpass the photographic achievements.

As I said, a scene that moved the audience to particularly hot tears is the one where Hitler Youth boy Erich reads the last letter of the fallen father to his mother and S.A. Mann Brand. How can you show the fallen hero as a photograph on the wall in this soldiery kitsch pose, which for years has been a joke prop in long military films? The scene took a heavy blow emotionally. Incidentally, the small Wenkhaus represents his "man" as a representative of the new, conscious youth, just as he finds the sounds of the death scene that almost make the "what" of his speaking role forgotten.

We move on to the dialogues that move along the often heard lines of political dialect. If the National Socialist movement had not had the phenomena of spech such as in Adolf Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, etc., which shaped new ideas, even outrageously new word structures, from intuition, what would have become of it? Certainly not if they had spoken from the tongues in this film.

The political film – a difficult film. The film has harrowing spots, the audience was sometimes carried away, in good will (director Franz Seitz) got it on its feet. It is a clinical excerpt from a huge world–shaking movement - which is why a lot of people want to see it. The propaganda calls it the first S.A. Film, but we deliberately don't say: the next one please.

(Reviewer Dr. L.)

Production: Franz Seitz film from Bavaria
Distribution: Bavarian Film Society.
Length: 2581 meters.
Blue censorship card: released for young people.
Predicates: Popular and artistic.

A well-known "Illustrated Film Courier" is produced for this film, which can be obtained from the theater owners from the "Film Kurier" publishers.

Film Courier daily newspaper, Berlin, June 15, 1933