PEER GYNT (1934)
Article 3944 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Fritz Wendhausen
Featuring Hans Albers, Lucie Hoflich, Marieluise Claudius
What it is: Ibsen drama
A ne’er-do-well from a small village makes his way into the world and becomes a successful businessman.
This movie has now been retrieved from my “ones-that-got-away” list; unfortunately, my copy is in unsubtitled German, and, even though I’ve seen the 1941 version of the story and read the original play many years ago, not enough stayed in my head to help me with this one. So I looked around for a plot description to help me, and I found one of the original play, and though this version of the story follows the story of the play for about the first thirty minutes, as far as I can tell after that, it diverges quite a bit. More to the point, the sequence where Peer Gynt encounters the troll king (which, from reading the plot description, takes place in a dream) has either been omitted from this version or changed to a much more realistic scenario. The problem is – that’s the sole fantastic content in the story, and with that gone, there’s really little reason for me to be covering this one. As it is, the language barrier makes it possible for me to appreciate the movie when the visuals or the energy make it work, so I really only found the energetic first thirty minutes and the last fifteen minutes consistently interesting; the rest was a talky bore. I might feel better if I get to see it with subtitles, so I’ll reserve judgment until then.