Wednesday 6 September 2017

On Blu-ray - David Hare finds a German edition of the classic 1933 gender bending comedy VIKTOR UND VIKTORIA

Renate Muller, Anton Walbrook, Viktor und Viktoria
Renate Muller as "Viktor" with the sublime Anton Walbrook in Reinhold Shünzel's dazzling pre-Reich 1933 comedy of gender flexing, and the template for Blake Edwards' great film of the same name (in English). No point in a detailed review as the title is one of six movies in a terrific Blu-ray but un-subtitled boxset released by Studio Hamburg Enterprises under the moniker "50 Years of Murnau Stiftung celebrations".

Other films include only one other Weimar era title released last year in an English friendly Blu disc by MOC, Joe May's Asphalt (1929). I confess to finding the picture actually rather insipid, but for the enjoyable spectacle of uniformed and booted Gustav Frohlich (mommas boy Junior from Metropolis) being humiliated in high Weimar BDSM style by dominatrix of the gutters, Else Heller.

I hope somebody thinks about picking this up for English friendly viewers. They might profitably pair it with another comedy from Schunzel who made several more including the amazing costume fantasy Amphityron in 1934, just before he fled Goebbels and Germany to Hollywood. Attentive viewers may recognize him as an actor, in the part of friendly and charming "Dr Anderson" amongst the Nazi gang hiding out in Rio in Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, USA, 1946).

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