May 18, 2016
People on Sunday.
Review #797: People on Sunday.
Erwin Splettstößer (Himself - taxi driver), Brigitte Borchert (Herself - record seller), Wolfgang von Waltershausen (Himself - wine seller), Christl Ehlers (Herself - an extra in films), and Annie Schreyer (Herself - model) Directed by Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer.
People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag) is not only the first film from 1930 reviewed on Movie Night, but it's also the first German film reviewed here since Metropolis (#500) over two years ago, alongside being the first silent film and second world cinema film reviewed this year. The subtitle of the film is "a film without actors", in light of the fact that the people in this movie were amateurs who (according to the opening titles) returned to their normal jobs by the time the movie was released in February 1930. It's interesting to see a movie like this, with ordinary people being spotlighted on their day (Sunday) off in Berlin, with the emphasis on five individuals. This is a movie not made for a complex plot, nor standout performances to win awards, but a movie made as it is, with no real inflated sense of artificial stock, feeling very realistic for its time about Berlin.
Though the movie was released as the Great Depression was in swing, the movie was made in the previous year on a low budget, but the movie nevertheless has an aura of innocence to it, especially Berlin, with regards to the decade (and more) that followed. I do love this one scene in which a photographer photographs a bunch of people's faces, from old to young, and I love the scene because there is a certain sense of charm to seeing people enjoying leisure time that fits well with the movie. It should be noted that this movie was written not only by the Sidomak brothers (Robert and Curt), bu also Billy Wilder, who left Berlin for Hollywood in 1933, writing and directing several classics, such as Some Like It Hot (#106), Ace in the Hole (#194), The Fortune Cookie (#422), The Apartment (#641), and several other movies in an over 40 year span. Fittingly, the movie ends on this title card: "And then on Monday...it is back to work... back to the everyday... back to the daily grind... Four... million... wait for... the next Sunday. The end." Ultimately, the movie is both an interesting time capsule into the lives of people (who never acted again) in Berlin along with being a hallmark of realism that is interesting to watch even today.
Countdown: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3...
Overall, I give it 9 out of 10 stars,