Friday, 28 March 2008

Throwing flowerpots

Recently I had a look at the 1954 German film of Erich Kästner's Emil and the Detectives. The script for this version takes even greater liberties with the book than the 1931 film.

During the climactic chase, when scores of children pursue the thief Grundeis through the streets of Berlin, a man looks out an upstairs window and then starts chucking flowerpots. Is it Kästner? And is he aiming at the kids or at the film makers?

Here's another still to compare, Erich Kästner four years earlier seen  at the start of the 1950 film Das Doppelte Lottchen, adapted from Kästner's book Lottie and Lisa.

The first script for the 1931 Emil film was written by Kästner and Emeric Pressburger, later the writer of such classics of British cinema as The Red Shoes and A Matter of Life and Death. When they made the mistake of delivering the script early to UFA, the studio gave it to Billy Wilder to 'improve'. 

Emeric Pressburger also directed a remake of Das Doppelte Lottchen, titled Twice Upon A Time (1953). A later remake was more successful, Disney's The Parent Trap.

I've written more on Kästner's books elsewhere, and Kästner and Pressburger here. There are more Kästner posts on this blog too.

Stills copyright © Universum Film GMBH & Co. DVDs of the films can be found on They are in German with no subtitles.

1 comment:

Gabriel said...

No, the man from the film-pictures is deffinitly not Erich Kästner. But you are right, he looks similar to Kästner.