25 September 1999 | J. Steed
MUCH BETTER THAN THE 1944 VERSION
The 2nd adaptation of Heinrich Spoerl's novel (Die Feuerzangenbowle, 1944, q.v.) is a much more well-known classic Heinz Rühmann vehicle than this first intelligently written adaptation. That is a pity as this funny and sometimes hilarious adaptation is much better. By adding a brother to the main character Pfeiffer (giving Rühmann the opportunity to play a double role) not only the story is expanded and given a better foundation, as a result the action of the film is made more plausible and the comedy is enriched as now half the film concerns the pupil Pfeiffer who has to find his way in his brother's place as a writer. The writers also added a couple of fine ideas like e.g. the superb scenes of the dancing classes and the visit to the World Panorama.
Robert Stemmle directed with firm hand and a good feeling for (timing of) comedy and made the whole thing into a playful and lighthearted cinematic treat; compare this to the heavy-handed 1944 version. Rühmann is great and knows to play the brothers of opposite character convincing; his timing is excellent. Fine supporting cast including Oskar Sima who is very good and Rudolf Platte who has (again) only a bit part as the dancing master, but makes him into a hilarious eccentric you are not likely to forget.