My Aunt, Your Aunt (1956)

  |  Comedy, Crime

My Aunt, Your Aunt (1956) Poster

Robbers break into a bank strongroom in a combination of Rififi and Charley's Aunt


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27 May 2004 | Chip_douglas
If you like ugly men in drag, this is for you
This broad comedy starts off quite promising with a colourful title sequence and opens on an impressive (if totally artificial) train station where we meet all the main characters. Since it would have been a shame to build such an elaborate set for just one sequence, main character Tommy Schneider (Georg Thomalla) returns here occasionally to flirt with Helga at the refreshment stall. Trying to earn some change by carrying luggage, Tommy takes up two suitcases for comedic duo Oskar Sima and Theo Lingen. You can tell how popular they are by the fact that their characters go by their actual first names. None of them know that the suitcases really belong to a cabaret singer. Soon Tommy learns that the fat one and the thin one are planning to rob a bank and decides to tag along with them in order to become a hero when he rats them out (what a guy, eh?).

Disguised as a vacuum salesman, Herr Schneider finds out the house next to the bank is owned by a couple of traveling anthropologists and asks the old butler (Hans Moser, another comedic icon who goes by his own name) if he would be willing to rent out some of the rooms. But old Hans will only take female lodgers and so the two suitcases come in handy after all. Dressed up as Tommy's aunts the three of them convince the old fossil to let them stay by performing a truly dreadful song and dance number from which the film takes it's title. Oskar und Theo enjoy the drag act so much they refuse to break character until the heist. Each time these two share a scene, composer Frank Filip does his best to convince us that they are the German Laurel and Hardy.

As you would expect, the real owners of the house arrive home from Africa. Why these two travelers share such a big house is never explained. Neither is why the brought home a chimp (Mr. Charley), although the house is already full of flayed, stuffed and mounted animals. At first Strotzelberg und Shuman berate their butler for allowing three women to stay in their house, but the moment Tommy flashes a bit of shoulder they change their minds (and let me tell you this is not an attractive man, let alone a woman!). While the two taxidermists take 'Tante Tommy' out to dinner, Laurel and Hardy set about destroying the floor. They are joined by another partner in crime called Harry (Harry Fuß) who has managed to produce a full size painting of the interior of the bank (based on just one photograph taken from the outside). With this they cover the windows so they can crack the safe in peace. It may be a load of nonsense, but the production values are actually quite impressive.

Sadly during the actual robbery the pace could have been better. Instead of crosscutting between the restaurant and the bank, we are treated to drawn out separate scenes. The 3 crooks perform extended gags with an alarm clock while both the tied up butler and Mr. Charley try to stop them. The old man gets the worst of it (even being electrocuted by cartoon lightning) while the chimp is revealed to have his own bed with a night light (do they pamper all their animals like this before they stuff them?). Having almost forgotten that Tommy is wooing two men at a restaurant, we cut back to them watching Lola (the owner of the dresses) performing an entire number on stage. Recognizing one of her favorite garments, she immediately calls the police. If you can believe the clothes the three 'aunts' have been wearing would actually suit, let alone fit Lola, you will believe anything, and that includes the ludicrous finale that wraps things up.

5 out of 10


Release Date:

7 September 1956



Country of Origin

West Germany

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