Die kleine Veronika (literally: Little Veronika) aka Unschuld (literally: Innocence)
Director: Robert Land
Writer: Max Jungk, Robert Land
Based on: Felix Salten‘s novella
Cast: Käthe von Nagy, Maly Delschaft, Mizzi Zwerenz, Harry Hardt, Karl Forest, Gustl Werner, Artur Ranzenhofer, Anny Ranzenhofer, Gaby Gilles, Otto Hartmann, Anita Muthsam, Lizzi Natzler
Part of: Film and Music Cycle in the Konzerthaus
With music by Ernst Molden & Walther Soyka
Seen on: 15.1.2019
Veronika (Käthe von Nagy) lives a sheltered life in Tyrol, supported by her aunt Rosi (Maly Delschaft) who lives in Vienna and earns good money. For her confirmation, Veronika can go to Vienna to visit Rosi who lives in a big house with other women. Veronika is too naive to realize that Rosi is a sex worker. When one of Rosi’s customers shows interest in Veronika, she is very flattered and thinks he is serious which brings her a whole lot of trouble.
Die kleine Veronika does feel a little dusty from today’s perspective, but for the most part, the film still works despite of that. The music by Molden and Soyka similarly didn’t work 100%, but it fit more often than it didn’t fit.
The film tells a rather tragic story, but being 90 years old, it does feel a little antiquated and the emotions don’t translate that well anymore. Often that dustiness caused laughter in the audience that I, personally, often couldn’t understand. But sometimes I will admit that I had to laugh, too.
The music, too, didn’t take the film all that seriously, I felt, which reinforced that direction. I will say, though, that the inclusion of the pink panther theme absolutely made me laugh as well. Other than that cheeky feeling, the music did fit the film most of the time.
In any case, Veronika deserves all our pity. Only 14 years old (that’s when confirmation is, as far as I know), she hits the big city for the first time, is preyed upon by a much older man and then, how else could it be, blamed for everything. The ending leans a bit too much on the pathos for my taste, but it does feel satisfying.
There were some very impressive moving shots here. I imagine that shooting those with the equipment at the time must have been quite a challenge, making them all the more impressive. But overall, I don’t think that the film will stay with me for very long.