The Mistress (1952)

  |  Drama


The Mistress (1952) Poster

An aging truck driver finds smuggled money and becomes involved with a hijacking crowd.


7.1/10
128

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Awards

3 wins.

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25 April 1999 | J. Steed
8
| MINOR MASTERPIECE
There is not much justice in the world and film history writing is no exception. This seldom shown classic of 50's German cinema is hardly ever mentioned, although, at least in my opinion, it should be considered a minor masterpiece. It is superbly directed by Rudolf Jugert, a Käutner-adept, but one can only fantasize about what would have happened when Helmut Käutner himself would have directed it.

The basis for this film is a brilliant, refined and intelligent script by Fritz Rotter and Helmut Käutner, but there must have been a big influence of producer Erich Pommer too. The script is full of visual ideas that symbolize the story, and with psychologically well-developed characters. At face-value it tells the story of a truck-driver, but this is not more than an instrument for a more universal theme: the detour the truck driver is forced to take (and at which point he meets for the first time Inge) is a detour in life that could happen to anyone. The truck is not only a truck, but stands for the straight and honest life the truck driver has had; the moment he takes Inge aboard, he indeed makes a detour from this life. The script has a number of these story telling delights and to mention them would be giving away the plot; and that shows how tight this script is. To see them all requires second and third viewing. The brilliance about all this is that at the end there are no loose ends; when the detour is raised there is only an open road for the truck driver and his wife.The thing I very much liked was that something of the detour will always influence the rest of the truck driver's life, so that in the end the detour was not totally in vain; the script is never sentimental and always honest.

There other aspects to this film that are simply splendid: cast, cinematography and last but not least the music of Werner Eisbrenner. Note Eisbrenner's music in the scene where Inge tries on the new clothes Heinrich has given her.

Not all the members of the cast can be mentioned, but I have to mention the following three: Hans Albers in one of his best parts of his film career; Hildegarde Knef sensitive and convincing portrayal of Inge; and surely Marius Goring - in one of his rare German films -: astonishing as Kurt, giving him the cold and cynical as well as the human and frail side of his character.

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