26 September 2016 | t_atzmueller
Traditionally a highlight among the 1970's Bavarian "Bauerntheater"
The story is as simple and basic as almost all of the "Bauerntheater"-stories go: Three brothers, Peter (Gustl Bayrhammer), Paul (Maxl Graf) and the youngest, Juliander (Gerhart Lippert), live a secluded life on their mountain farm, caring little to none about outside world, content to feed on their bread-soup (traditionally spooned from the same pot) and hard-boiled eggs. Their only (female) companion is motherly, but frail and ailing housekeeper Vroni (Marianne Brandt), who is more than a little concerned what might happen to the trio, once she won't be around to take care of them anymore. More important, all three refuse to get married since tradition would have it that whoever marries first would automatically become landlord, relegating the other two to servants. This brotherly harmony is disturbed when a new born is dropped at their doorsteps, forcing the brothers to hire handmaid Marilen (Gaby Dohm). It doesn't take long until all three brothers take a shining to the buxom Marilen and jealousy comes knocking at the door of the farmers.
"Bauerntheater" (or "Famer's theatre") has a long tradition in rural Germany, especially in the south or, precisely, Bavaria. Whether professional (like in this case) or performed by laymen, the locals will dress up in their finest, traditional attire for this occasion and flock into the theatres. The plays themselves are invariably simple, down to earth, with a twist that is usually pretty foreseeable and an inevitable happy ending for all involved. More important to the viewers, the plays are a reflection of what they would like to see themselves as: rural, simple, yet witty when needed and, in the end, prevailing. Many of those stories and plays have been repeated so often, that most viewers will know the story lines (and often the lines themselves) by heart, recast with new actors every few seasons. "The Three Polar bears" (a nickname bestowed upon the protagonists for their secluded lifestyle) is among the most popular and this 1973-version, thanks to the excellent stage-setting, that transports you right into a Bavarian farm from the turn of the last century, and an equally formidable cast, is perhaps the favorite among "Bauerntheater"-aficionados. Primarily due to actor Gustl Bayrhammer, whom most Bavarians would still consider "the perfect example of a Bavarian" to this day. Compare him to John Wayne, if you're a Western fan. People familiar with the matter will find nothing new in this review (or nothing that would give them ground to disagree) and those who are new yet interested in this genre, might well want to start off with "Die Drei Eisbären", if it runs on local television. A word of warning though: even fluent German speaks might find that they'll have a hard time with the local Bavarian dialect.