25 November 2018 | slabihoud
"Schwarzer Kies" is an extremely bleak movie that makes me wonder it ever found enough supporters to get made at all. The dark, disturbing story is portrays a German village living off an American Air Force Base (around 1960) mostly by cheating and prostituting. It is not surprising that the film didn't do much money at the box office. And the film was hurt by an accusation of antisemitism, which led to being recut to avoid a bad press. The accusation was a clear misinterpretation. What the film really did, was to show that antisemitism was still around and some people had not changed.
The Americans (all played by German actors) do not appear much better than the Germans. Their plan to build a rocket launch base does not sound very promising for peace. The soldiers are shown mainly frequenting a local bar/bordello and the officers checking bills and hoping to leave soon for a better post. Director Helmut Käutner did not spare many, most people in his film are in some way cunning, every one seems to be involved or at least in the know of the black market around the base. From the very first scene to the very last, the film is most uncompromising in his portrait of greed, lust and bondage.
The actors are all unknown today although they did a good job. It is a Germany we have never seen on film before or even after. It took guts to get this film made. The Friedrich Wilhem Murnau Stiftung did a great job restoring the film to its original lenght and optical quality.