19 July 2004 | jandewitt
Why, why, why did they do it?
Remakes, they say, are seldom better than the original.
After years of prosperity German cinema went into sharp decline during the end of the 50's. The audience finally was fed up with the low calories diet of mindless Heimatfilmen, shrill, exploitive melodramas, teary Maria Schell weepies and ultra-brutal World War II sagas. The number of TV sets nearly doubled each year and as they did in the USA some years earlier bedazzled German producers tried their luck with costly remakes to lure the paying costumers back.
Someone finally got the suicidal idea to produce an updated version of the all-time classic 'Grand Hotel' (aka 'Menschen I'm Hotel'). They crammed together some of Germany's top stars: O.W. Fischer, though on the decline after some huge flops in a row, Heinz Ruehmann and Sonja Ziemann, whose last few films bombed at the box-office, after she tried a more mature image.
The casting ranged from bizarre (O.W. Fischer is AWFUL and over the top, he makes John Barrymore look like a stiff zombie) to downright foolish (sweet and homegrown Sonja Ziemann as a slightly amoral secretary - never mind about miscasting, boys).
The overall result was so bad and wretched, it ended the career of most people involved.