Burgtheater [Burg Theater] (1936)

Director: Willi Forst
Writer: Willi Forst, Jochen Huth
Cast: Werner Krauss, Hans Moser, Hortense Raky, Olga Tschechowa, Karl Günther, Willy Eichberger (aka Carl Esmond)

Friedrich Mitterer (Werner Krauss) is the star of the Viennese Burg Theater. The eccentric and basically socio-phobic star. He has the prompter Sedlmayer (Hans Moser) take care of most of his social interactions. Even when he meets the young Leni (Hortense Raky) who finds really charming, he relies on Sedlmayer to establish contact. With these social skills, it’s no wonder that he doesn’t notice that Leni is head over heels for the aspiring actor Josef (Willy Eichberger). When Leni finds an invitation for the Baroness Seebach’s (Olga Tschechowa) weekly party for the rich and famous at Mitterer’s place, she steals it without thinking and gives it to Josef, setting quite a few things in motion.

I really enjoyed Burgtheater. It’s funny, charming and entertaining. And the cast is absolutely excellent .

I’m kind of a bad Austrian, cinematically speaking as I had never seen a movie by Willi Forst, or with Hans Moser or Werner Krauss. [Yeah, I know. Bad movie geek, no cookie. But I finally remedied the situation, so…] And I can hardly imagine a better introduction to them than through this film. All three of them were wonderful.

Though I have to admit that it was Karl Günther as Baron Seebach who stole their thunder a little bit. He’s only in a couple of scenes but he completely blew me away. Within the first minute of him showing up, he basically single-handedly managed to establish the relationship the Baron has with the Baroness – and the many things that are left unsaid between them. Not that Olga Tschechowa didn’t do her part there as well – she was really good, too. Just not as woah.

Additionally, the movie is really funny in a very Viennese way. The way famous mumbler Hans Moser gets to be a prompter and gives Josef the advice that he has to speak clearly (mumbling so badly that part of it is impossible to understand) is absolutely ingenious. And there are many little things like that, though not all of them on the meta level.

It just makes the film completely entertaining. I really enjoyed it and myself.

Summarising: Totally recommended.

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