In der verschlafenen Kleinstadt Ostend treffen eines Tages 13 Koffer ein, die allesamt mit den Initialen O.F. gekennzeichnet sind. Außerdem werden im "Grandhotel" sechs Zimmer bestellt. Die bevorstehende Ankunft des offensichtlich steinreichen Herrn O.F. löst in dem Ort einen sagenhaften Wirtschaftaufschwung aus. In nur einem Jahr wandelt sich Ostend zu einer modernen Großstadt. Da stört es keinen mehr, dass der wahre Herr O.F. nie angekommen ist.
In the very old-fashioned town of Ostend, 13 suitcases are suddenly delivered to the hotel, with a note, that O.F. will be here soon and needs 6 rooms (the hotel just has five). This event, probably the biggest in 300 years, starts a small wave of modernisation, yet everybody is wondering who O.F. is. Journalist Stix and architect Stark have an idea how to use this event. They proclaim that O.F. is a former citizen of the town, who became a millionaire abroad. They tell their fellow citizens that the town still needs modernisation, like better hotels, nightclubs, shops, etc. And soon, Ostend is a boomtown, then a capital. The architect, responsible for the new buildings is finally allowed to marry the mayor's daughter, while Stix marries the cabaret star and the widowed mayor his new secretary. The only problem is, O.F. hasn't shown up; and while finance experts from all over the world are trying to solve the depression problem, which is non-existent in Ostend, this soon lets the people forget about O.F. entirely. A bizarre film at best, which, for some reason, has the word "VERBOTEN" flashing on and off throughout parts of the film (hey! I just report the news; I don't write it).
An update: James Bigwood -- co-author of the book, The Films of Peter Lorre and a customer -- has provided the following information regarding the flashing "verboten" on the print:
The reason that the word "VERBOTEN" appears from time to time on the print is that the film was broadcast on German television as an example of Nazi-era censorship. The parts of the film that were edited for the Nazi reissue of the film (under the title "Bauen und Heiraten") were marked for the broadcast so that the audience could identify the cut scenes. The source of this DVD must be that television broadcast.
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