Raid in St Pauli

© 2014 William Ahearn

Another leftist-centric drama centered on the underclass of Hamburg and concerning a prostitute who hides a well known burglar from the police and then takes up with him with dreams of leaving her mild-mannered musician boyfriend and going off on new adventures. Shot on-location with locals as extras, the story that takes place in one day is half the experience as the narrative unfolds among characters reminiscent of The Three Penny Opera.

The critic for the Berliner Börsen-Courier – a left-centric daily – wrote:

“Nothing else happens there in twenty-four hours, but only rarely is as much included in a film: the whole milieu, St Pauli with its port facilities, alleys, amusement parks; the hardworking, pleasure-loving men who never really find it; and nature with its cycle of days and nights.  In numerous highly impressive montages, overlappings, and lyrical shots, the camera of AO Weitzenberg ties the fates of the three characters into the life of the underworld.”

The Nazis banned the film and The Berliner Börsen-Courier when they took over. This undercurrent of political films in the Weimar era – independent of UFA and the mainstream – offer a far different view of the times. Great stuff.

Written and directed by Werner Hochbaum. Cinematography by AO Weitzenberg with original music by Kurt Levaal. Starring Gina Falckenberg, Friedrich Gnaß, Wolfgang Zilzer, Charly Wittong, Max Zilzer, and Ernst Busch.