14 February 2003 | Wolfi-10
Great play mostly superbly acted
Kleists "Zerbrochener Krug" demonstrates that even "classical poets" have written plays that are devilishly funny and remain a joy to watch over hundreds of years. When we had to read it as students in a German high school, it was an exhilarating surprise among the usual fare. We even acted it out in class, with much giggling, even though we certainly did not reach Emil Janning's finesse of the movie, which was made well before our school years. His portrayal of the village judge Adam, ever so sly but not a bad guy, trying to extricate himself from the closing web of personal mishaps, and under the eye of a stern inspector to boot, gives the play its full due. The other actors are all very good too, with the one unfortunate exception of Lina Carstens - not a well-known actress - as Frau Marthe; she talks at a rapid-fire rate on the top of her voice, and is thus hard to understand in the old movie. Elisabeth Flickenschildt as Frau Brigitte shows how it's done right.