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DAS MÄDCHEN JOHANNA (1935) *with switchable English subtitles* IMPROVED VIDEO *

Angela Salloker, Gustaf Gründgens and Heinrich George Gustav Ucicky Writer: Gerhard Menzel Angela Salloker ... Johanna (Joan of Arc) Gustaf Gründgens Gustaf Gründgens ... King Charles VII Heinrich George Heinrich George ... Herzog von Burgund René Deltgen René Deltgen ... Maillezais Erich Ponto Erich Ponto ... Lord Talbot Willy Birgel Willy Birgel ... La Trémouille Theodor Loos Theodor Loos ... Dunois Aribert Wäscher Aribert Wäscher ... Valençon Franz Nicklisch Franz Nicklisch ... Johann von Metz Veit Harlan Veit Harlan ... Pierre Paul Bildt Paul Bildt ... Bürger Bernhard Minetti Bernhard Minetti ... Amtmann S.O. Schoening S.O. Schoening ... Pater (as Sascha Oscar Schöning) Friedrich Ulmer Friedrich Ulmer ... A Captain Fritz Genschow Fritz Genschow ... Hauptmann
(1)
$13.99

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While not the most accurate portrayal of historical events, as we purport to know them, this film nevertheless shows a historical viewpoint, which may not be too far from the truth. Neither the French, nor the British, come out looking too good in this film ... and why should they? Nazi Germany had no interest in wooing either of their future enemies. Yet, in spite of fascist Germany's abhorrence with all religions, which placed God above man, this film resembles the Passion of Christ more closely than it does historical events and therein lays the discomfort: the betrayal of the servant of God; the mocking of the same; even the request of the British soldier, who asks her to remember him in Paradise, just like the criminal at Jesus' side who asked the same at the crucifixion. King Charles of France, so often portrayed as weak-minded, indecisive and incompetent is shown here as weak and apparently malleable by his nobles; but eventually, the film shows him to be rational, cold-blooded, manipulative, calculating and politically savvy. In the end, he, too, will abandon the "tool" which saved France and brought him to power.

Die Franzosen drohen im Jahre 1429 den bereits 92 Jahre währenden Krieg gegen England und interne Widersacher zu verlieren. Nur Orléans leistet noch erbitterten Widerstand – es ist die einzige Stadt, die Frankreichs König Karl VII. geblieben ist. Um annehmbare Friedensbedingungen zu erkunden, schickt der König seinen Emissär Maillezais in das feindliche Lager, zu dem Heerführer Lord Talbot und dessen Verbündeten, den Herzog von Burgund. Doch Talbot ist an einem Kompromiss nicht interessiert; er bereitet sich vielmehr gerade auf seine letzte Schlacht, die Entscheidungsschlacht, vor. Seiner Verachtung gegenüber dem schwachen französischen König verleiht er Ausdruck, indem er Maillezais das Talbotsche Wappen auf die Stirn brennt. Orléans’ Bevölkerung wird immer verzweifelter, die Edelleute und militärischen Verteidiger Graf La Trémouille, Dunois und der Herzog von Alençon sind nur an ihrem eigenen Nutzen interessiert und schmieden überdies Ränke gegen ihren Monarchen, der ihnen viel Geld schuldet. Schließlich verliert auch der König den Glauben an einen Sieg und versucht, sich mit seinem Vertrauten Maillezais bei Nacht und Nebel aus dem Staub zu machen. An einer Straße wird er jedoch von einfachen Bürgern, die gerade an Händen und Füßen festgebundene Tote aus der Loire zu bergen versuchen, gestoppt und an seiner Flucht gehindert. Die im Fluss Ersäuften waren Opfer des schurkischen Herzogs von Alençon, der durch die von ihm angeordnete Mordtat zu verhindern suchte, dass diese Männer ihren König sprechen, um seine Majestät zu bitten, Orléans nicht den Engländern preiszugeben. Der Pöbel glaubt, in dem König den Herzog zu erkennen, zerrt ihn aus seiner Sänfte und versucht diesen daraufhin zu erschlagen. Im letzten Moment tritt unter Glockengeläut das 17-jährige Bauernmädchen Jeanne d’Arc hervor, das den König erkennt. Das Mädchen Johanna kann das Schlimmste verhindern. Jeanne erklärt, sie sei vom Erzengel Michael entsandt worden, um Frankreich zu retten und den König in Reims zu krönen. Karl, nicht sonderlich gläubig und ein kühl berechnender Machtmensch, erkennt als gewiefter Taktiker in diesem glücklichen Umstand jedoch die ideale Gelegenheit, das Volk zu neuen Anstrengungen zu motivieren. Ein Ruf ertönt fortan über die Schlachtfelder: „Gott und die Jungfrau!“ Und wie durch ein Wunder gelingt die schicksalhafte Wende im Krieg, die Soldaten König Karls stürmen unter der Führung Jeanne d’Arcs die gegnerische Befestigungsanlage. Der Herzog von Burgund wird gefangen genommen. Als ihn Maillezais mit dem Schwert niedermachen will, ist es ausgerechnet Jeanne, die den fetten Verbündeten des feigen, sich bei Nacht und Nebel davonmachenden Engländers Talbot schützt.

DVD-R is in German with switchable English subtitles.  Approx. 77 mins.  See film samples for audio and video quality!

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History as Propaganda, 5/23/2015 4:48 AM
From: John C
There have been several filmed versions about Joan of Arc but none as iconoclastic as 1935's 'Das Madchen Johanna' a big prestigious Ufa production filled with many of Germany's best actors. The producers were wise to cast a relatively fresh face for the title role with a little known Austrian actress Angela Salloker (1913-2006) who was mainly a stage performer. This was her third film, ably supported by Gustav Grundgens, Heinrich George, Willy Birgel, Rene Deltgen, Erich Ponto, and Veit Harlan before he became a director. Although it was filmed on indoor sets, Gunther Krampf's photography (He also shot 'Nosferatu' and 'Pandora's Box'), the costumes, and Peter Kreuder's majestic score give the story's setting its needed historical scope. What's missing are large battle scenes but what's there are brutal enough. The story also avoids us seeing Joan having visions and omits her trials which are replaced with political intrigue where Joan becomes almost a secondary character. You can't help feel sympathy for her as she becomes a pawn or "tool'' and victim of the sly king (Grundgens in a showy part with several costume changes) whose treasury is empty and in debt to his squabbling vassals who mistreat their detested subjects or "scum."  

Graham Greene wasn't the only reviewer who recognized the film as an anti-French and anti-British propaganda piece buried under the trappings of a historical costumer mirroring recent events in Germany. H.George as a drunken Burgundian Duke with an eye for virgins and Ponto as a cruel English lord more interested in money than his men become buffoons for comic effect.  'Johanna' was written by Gerhard Menzel, who wrote several pro-Nazi films like the odious 'Heimkehr' ('Homecoming' 1941), and was directed by Gustav Ucicky who helmed both films. Greene said it best that the film is "of greater interest to students of Nazi psychology.... It is very noisy, like the Zoo at feeding time.... and it is quite inaccurate as any Hollywood spectacle... but not so funny.... Perhaps one should not condemn Fraulein Angela Salloker for her quite nerveless playing for it is one of the purposes of this Nazi film to belittle a rival national savior. The real hero is Charles VII with his Nazi mentality, his belief in the nobility of treachery for the sake of the nation. The [Rohm] purge of 30 June [1934] and the liquidation of Tremouille [Birgel], the burning Reichstag and the pyre in Rouen market-place - these political parallels are heavily underlined. The direction is terribly sincere, conveying a kind of blond and shaven admiration for lonely dictators who have been forced to eliminate their allies." Twenty-five years after Joan was deliberately sacrificed by the sanctimonious Charles who advocates  "Politics is the art to make use of all occasions," we see him smugly annulling her sentence because she was the ''state's most faithful servant'' (i.e., loyal Fuehrer follower) which makes him feel better knowing how ''sweet it is to undo a wrong,'' her death he blamed on the Church and England, the height of hypocrisy per Nazi propaganda. Another English reviewer, Robert Hering, spotted the Charles/Hitler connection: "There is much implication that the Dauphin is a leader in advance of his time. But it may be suspected that there is now less stringency, or perhaps a little more evasion, in the German studios. How else would the final message of the film be that Joan, the girl of the people, who is hailed and followed by the people, is nothing but a figure-head for folk not of the people?"  

There's a lot of story packed into this loud dialogue-driven film running 77 minutes. Goebbels had mixed feelings about 'Johanna' for in his diaries he wrote it is "my great success" but later added: "Too noisy [also Greene's words above], too contrived. Unfortunately not what I wanted." 'Johanna' would come full circle for Greene when he wrote the screenplay for 1957's 'Saint Joan' directed by Otto Preminger, a bomb with critics who lambasted his miscasting of the unknown Jean Seberg as Joan as well as disliking Greene's adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play. Regardless of what Greene, Hering, and Goebbels thought of 'Johanna' it's definitely worth watching if only to see how history is distorted by propaganda.  The disc's quality is reasonably good.
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