DER REST IST SCHWEIGEN (1959)
aka The Rest is Silence
Article 3574 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-8-2011
Posting Date: 5-28-2011
Directed by Helmut Kautner
Featuring Hardy Kruger, Peter van Eyck, Ingrid Andree
Country: West Germany
What it is: Modernized Shakespeare
A young man returns home to find his father dead… and his mother married to the man he suspects is his father’s murderer.
Here’s another movie that was rescued from my “ones that got away” list, those movies that I hunted for unsuccessfully for years. And, like most foreign movies that end up on that list, if it does manifest itself, it’s usually not on a copy with English dubbing or subtitles, and such is the case here. However, I was armed with one extra piece of info; this movie is a fairly faithful modernized adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, a play I am quite familiar with. As a result, I was able to match the characters in the movie with the equivalent characters in the play, and follow the thread of the plot. It’s a good thing, too; had I not been able to follow it, the plot wouldn’t have made any sense to me, and the fantastic content would have been invisible. In fact, I’m still not sure it’s there; in the play, Hamlet is clued in to the plot of Claudius by a visit from the ghost of his dead father, and there is no recognizably equivalent scene in this movie. There is, however, a mysterious phone call in a flashback sequence which may be indicative of a call from a ghost, and there’s an interesting scene where the main character discovers a secret safe from a clue in a painting of his father. However, since I was not privy to an understanding of the dialogue surrounding these scenes, this may be nothing but conjecture. I’m actually surprised that this is the first version of “Hamlet” I’ve encountered for this series, given the directness of the fantastic content in the story, and it would be ironic if this one didn’t contain that content. At any rate, I enjoyed the movie, and it saves its biggest departure from its source script for the ending scene, which leaves many more characters alive than the original does and makes the final act of justice come from an unexpected hand. My favorite scene is when Fee (this movie’s equivalent to the character of Ophelia) descends into madness and cuts off all of the flowers in a greenhouse; for some reason, I found this scene unbelievably sad.