This classic 1931 German adaptation of Eric Kastner's much-loved children's book was by Kastner himself and written by the legendary Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment) and an uncredited Emeric Pressburger (A Matter of Life and Death, Red Shoes).
When young Emil is sent to Berlin by his mother the money he is carrying to give to his grandmother is stolen by a man on a train. Once in Berlin, Emil follows the thief and enlists the help of a gang of youngsters called 'the detectives' to help get his grandmother's money back.
Thrilling entertainment for children and adults alike, Emil and the Detectives was one of the first German sound films ever produced, and offers a fascinating glimpse of Berlin before Nazism and the Second World War. This enduring story has been remade a number of times, including a 1964 Walt Disney version. This DVD includes the rare 1935 British adaptation, set on the streets of London, as an exclusive special feature.
Cast and Crew:
Directed by Gerhard Lamprecht and starring Rolf Wenkhaus. Written by Billy Wilder (Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment)
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I just love that film. It's really fun and even a bit suspenseful. The acting seems slightly wooden from today's perspective, but it actually adds to the charme. The original book was (and still is) a bestseller in children's fiction. Generations of German kids have read it and it was adapted for film several times. However, the 1931 version is still the best, imho. I found it also very interesting as a document of the time. Though the story is fictional, there are many shots from everyday life in Weimar Germany. It was also fun to see the British remake, included on the DVD. They used the same script, shots are often identical, but all with different (English) actors. This version is not quite as good, but still worth to watch. The picture quality is of course not optimal anymore, the films are more than 80 years old. But it is certainly good enough for an entertaining evening.
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