Ehe im Schatten [Marriage in the Shadows] (1947)

Ehe im Schatten
Director: Kurt Maetzig
Writer: Kurt Maetzig
Based on: Hans Schweikart‘s novella which is based on Joachim Gottschalk‘s life
Cast: Paul Klinger, Ilse Steppat, Alfred Balthoff, Claus Holm, Willy Prager
Part of: Vienna Jewish Film Festival

Hans Wieland (Paul Klinger) and Elisabeth Maurer (Ilse Steppat) are celebrated actors. Elisabeth is about to marry Herbert Blohm (Claus Holm) when the Nazis rise to power. When Herbert, who is looking at a promising career under them, finds out that Elisabeth is Jewish and Elisabeth sees that Herbert’s career is more important than him than her, they call things off and Hans Wieland steps in and offers to marry Elisabeth, to keep her relatively safe. But neither realize how bad things are getting at first.

Ehe im Schatten was an excellent film. A tear-jerker, certainly, but one helluva effective one, with a good story, beautiful costumes and a great cast.

It was interesting to see a German anti-nazi movie that was made so shortly after WW2. They managed to make it absolutely believable. The way Hans and Elisabeth hold on to the faith that nothing so bad could or would happen. The way Kurt Bernstein (Alfred Balthoff) thinks fleeing to Vienna would be enough, though at least he saw the need to leave. How people let things happen because they just can’t imagine or comprehend the extent of it.

The movie does tend to preach a little. But at least it’s preaching in the (to me) right moral direction and it doesn’t get too obtrusive, so it was okay.

The cast was really good, especially Ilse Steppat and Paul Klinger, though it helped them of course to have strong and interesting characters to play. Especially Hans was an interesting mix of egocentric ass and caring .

Sometimes the story was a little chopped and especially Elisabeth changed her mind a little too easily, though that happened to all characters. It would have been good to see a little more of their decision making processes. But other than that, I really enjoyed the film.

Summarising: watch it.


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