SCHNEEWEISSCHEN UND ROSENROT (1955)
aka Snow White and Rose Red
Article 4667 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Erich Kobler
Featuring Rosemarie Seehofer, Ursula Herion, Ruth von Zerboni
Country: West Germany
What it is: Fairy tale
A prince is changed into a bear by an evil thieving dwarf. Both the bear and the dwarf encounter two girls living in the forest, and are both helped by them, though the dwarf is not grateful for their help.
I knew when I found this movie on YouTube that it was most likely going to prove another case in which there would be no English titles or dubbing to it, but since it’s based on a fairy tale, I found a summary of the story and took that in before I watched the movie. One impression I had of the story was that there just wasn’t a whole lot to it; it might be long enough to fill a twenty-minute short, but it would take quite a bit of work to stretch it out to fifty-five minutes. The movie uses two primary strategies to stretch out the story; we get some footage of the girls encountering and playing with forest animals (harmless and even somewhat pleasant for animal lovers), and we get a lot of footage of a comic relief character named Knicklebein (painful and unfunny, and he’s not saved by the fact that I didn’t understand the language because all his shtick is visual). On the plus side, the print I found was very nice, and it does capture a bit of quiet fairy tale atmosphere. It’s also more than a bit static and lacking in energy, and it doesn’t help that the most energetic characters are the unlikable dwarf and the comic relief. Still, at least it didn’t run any longer than it did.