9 November 1999 | J. Steed
LÖNS' LIFE EXCUSE FOR A HEIMATFILM
The life of German journalist/writer/poet Hermann Löns is supposed to be the subject of the film; well, to be honest, the credits already warn that the film is based on "ideas taken from the biography by Dr. Wilhelm Deimann". The life of Löns is a poor excuse for a slightly above average Heimatfilm with the standard ingredients of plenty of landscape, sentimental love stories and a couple of folklore songs and dances and very little of the life, let alone an insight in the literature, of Löns. One wonders how much time Löns could have had for writing his prose, poetry and being a journalist if so much of his time is used for keeping his marriage intact.
There are some enormous discrepancies between this Löns and the real Löns. I can not think of any other reason than the average conventional German mentality of the 50's that made the makers decide to let him keep his marriage until 1914. In fact his wife Lisa left him in 1910 after which Löns had a nervous breakdown and traveled through Europe for about 2 years. In this film he never leaves the moor and only has a slight attack of fever. From 1912 he lived together with Ernestin Sassenberg in Hannover, that is: without being married and that would have been a problem in a mainstream German film in the 50's.
This is still an entertaining film though. The cast is fine and director Karl Hartl has good control over the material and avoids it resulting into exaggerated sentimentality. Good cinematography, ditto music and pacing. (6/10)