Einmal im Leben - Geschichte eines Eigenheims (1972– )

TV Series   |    |  Drama

Episode Guide
Einmal im Leben - Geschichte eines Eigenheims (1972) Poster

Once in a lifetime - a home story is a three-part television movie.


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21 November 2007 | nitratestock35
| A slice of early 1970s Germany
This three part TV movie is not only very entertaining - still today in 2007, it also provides a good insight into the human nature - on a light and amusing level. We also get a good idea about the complete financing plan and how everything turns out more expensive in the end. We get correct figures, many written out for us in numbers.

This movie was done with painstaking research on the subject.

Mild mannered Herr Semmeling, the father and husband is our identification figure. He is also the Narrator. Occasionally characters break "the fourth wall" and talk directly to the audience, providing insight into their lives and points of view, some reveal a greedy side (such as the architect), some reveal the reality for people working in this cutthroat business (such as the electrician). Herr Semmeling is a wonderful, typical German figure (everybody knows someone exactly like him) as portrayed by Franz Lichtenhahn (who is born in Switzerland but not a trace of an accent in his German): he is a bespectacled, pedantic nerd and somehow a whiner, yet he is intelligent, well meaning and just tries to make it through this ordeal of building a home near the end of the German economical post-war boom.

The ensemble cast consists mainly of top-shelf actors. The different accents (German dialects) - especially from the blue collar workers - are excellently done. The actors tone it down and talk clearer than real-life people would, so it can be understood by anyone in Germany. In some German films - like in any country I suppose - this is poorly handled and results in plain wrong or fake accents. Not here. BTW: I love to hear Uwe Dallmeier (from Hamburg) pulling off a decent Frankfurt accent, complete with that typical "no B.S., keep it real, down to earth" tone. Like when he looks at that ridiculously cheesy and totally useless 50 piece sofa set and asks Frau Semmeling: (Translated:)"What kind o' junk is that?". Finally someone says what everybody is thinking! Many more situations like this.

There are a few gags (the outhouse running gag, the neighbor with the bicycle, things breaking and ill-fitting, and even some light slapstick comedy), but it is never overdone, so the movie remains essentially a drama - and a wonderful document of high class German TV-film-making and a perfect piece of early 1070s nostalgia. I gave it an 8 out of 10.

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

16 January 1972



Country of Origin

West Germany

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