Fahrmann Maria (1936)

Article #1054 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-2-2004
Posting Date: 7-1-2004
Directed by Frank Wisbar
Featuring Sybille Schmitz, Aribert Mog, Peter Voss

A woman takes over the job of running a ferryboat after Death claims the previous man in the occupation. One day she rescues a man trying to escape from unknown pursuers, and then must prevent Death from claiming him as well.

Frank Wisbar’s cult horror movie STRANGLER OF THE SWAMP wasn’t really a remake of this earlier movie of his, but it drew heavily from it. Whereas that movie was clearly horror, this was more dark fantasy and fable. The primary image that both films share is that of the woman pulling herself across the swamp via a rope that stretches from one end to the other, and it’s a compelling image. The swamp is very real here, in comparison to the set-bound one used in the later film, and one is aware that the themes run a little deeper. My copy was in German without subtitles, but fortunately I was given a plot summary that explained what was going on, and it it’s a little a vague about details, I suspect that the movie itself was a little vague also. I recommend this one to anyone whose seen SOTS and is somewhat curious about its earlier incarnation.

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