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Monday, May 26, 2008

THE MURDERERS ARE AMONG US (1946)

Wolfgang Staudte ’s well-received film, the first from post-Nazi era Berlin, is a straightforward little psychological drama (with noir trimmings) about a traumatized ex-soldier/doctor who drinks to forget his past. When Hildegard Knef (looking like Ginger Rogers!) returns from a Concentration Camp to claim her old apartment, they spar, but soon (inexplicably) lurch toward love. But no future is possible without first confronting his past (i.e. Germany’s past). In this case, those frightful days are represented by his well-adjusted/thriving ex-commander who ordered needless civilian executions in wartime. The mere acknowledgment of guilt, considered daring back in 1946, now seems tame indeed. On its own terms, this is a perfectly respectable film, but ‘too little, too late’ doesn’t begin to do it justice.

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