11 September 2004 | F Gwynplaine MacIntyre
This is no 'Cabaret'
'I Get Out and You Stay Here' is a German screwball comedy (or is that an oxymoron?) from 1931. The year is significant. At this point, Germany has recovered (somewhat) from the crippling economic problems of the 1920s that gave German film goers nothing to laugh at, but Hitler is still not yet in charge ... and not yet politically dominant enough to inflect the proceedings of this film. Based on what we see here, Berlin in 1931 was a pretty nice place to live, and (for all I know) perhaps it was ... at least for people with a few deutschemarks.
The very attractive (and very Aryan) actress Camilla Horn plays the floor model in a very swank boutique in Unter den Linden, Mittel Berlin. Her job enables her to wear beautiful gowns and expensive furs, but she isn't paid much. She's engaged to a handsome young driving instructor (Hans Brausewetter), and it's understood that they'll marry as soon as they get a bit of money. But no pfennigs are on the horizon.
Camilla's employer (Margo Lion) locates a rich sucker, I mean a customer: a wealthy baron, very well played by Theodor Loos. Camilla's job requires her to be squired about at posh nightclubs and restaurants by the baron and other rich men, while wearing her employer's expensive outfits, in the hope of making some sales. Naturally, this leaves poor Hans at home all alone with his engine idling, adjusting his stick shift.
Of course Hans jumps to conclusions about Camilla's stage-door Johanns. But German sex farces (such as they were in the 1930s) were actually somewhat prudish, so there's never any doubt that Camilla is remaining chaste. Even with her boyfriend, she follows a Hans-off policy.
It's no surprise that there's a happy ending for these lovebirds in 1931 Berlin, but modern viewers are grimly aware that things won't be so nice for them in a few years. On the positive side, I did enjoy the exterior shots of Berlin. But the scenes in nightclubs and restaurants appear to be staged, featuring dress extras on a movie set, so anybody hoping to see any Christopher Isherwood-style footage of Berlin nightlife will be disappointed here. I'll rate this movie 4 out of 10, mostly for the actors' ability to rise above the poor script.