An international scholarly online history journal on First and Second Empire subjects: articles, bibliographies, book reviews, in english and in french


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  •  KOLBERG, by Veit Harlan - 1945


 Country : Germany

 Medium : Agfacolor

 Duration : 104'

 Production : UFA

 Scenario : Veit Harlan and Alfred Braun

 Screenplay : Alfred Braun

 Music : Norbert Schultze

 Director of photography : Bruno Mondi

 Plot : Breslau, 1813. The population revolts against the Napoleonic armies. After the victory of the town of Kolberg, where the Prussians manage to hold against the French siege, the Prussian people feels certain that it can to repel the "Corsican Ogre", and even capture him should the occasion arise.

 Cast : Charles Schauten (Napoleon) ; Heinrich George (Nettelbeck) ; Kristina Söderbaum (Maria) ; Paul Wegener (Loucadou) ; Gustav Diessl (Schill) ; Irene von Meyendorff (Queen Luisa) ; Claus Clausen (Friedrich-Wilhelm III) ; Horst Caspar ; Otto Wernicke

 Extract : « Gneisenau. - The hour is come !
Friedrich-Wilhelm III. - Is this a call to arms ? A call to the people ? Why to the people ? War is a matter for armies.
Gneisenau. - Yes, Your Majesty, but the people will be the army. All of the people. »

 Review : 30 January 1945, the Third Reich entered it final weeks. On the Eastern Front, the Red Army had reached the Oder. To the West the Allies had almost reached the Rhine. Only a few, heavily fortified towns remained in the hands of the Germans. This was the case with La Rochelle. From above the town a plane parachuted in a copy of the film Kolberg. It was this film which Goebbels believed was to play a major propaganda role in calling the people to resist the enemy. Never had so much money been spent on the making of a film in Germany: the bill came to a colossal 8 million Reichsmarks. Historical accuracy is very much sacrificed in favour of showing a people's capacity for resistance and self-sacrifice. But the pictures are stunning and the acting, with Heinrich George heading the bill, lives up to the political and technical level of the production.



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