Friday, October 10, 2014

R.I.P.: Joachim "Blacky" Fuchsberger, Part I (1953-1960)

11 March 1927 — 11 September 2014
In all truth, much of what Fuchsberger made during this period we do not find in any way interesting, but it does reflect his quick success and is the basis of the career that followed — so here's a meandering look at his thespian roots and the tangents they brought us to.
The films begin to get interesting around 1958...

Geh mach dein Fensterl auf
(1953, writ & dir. Anton Kutter)
The title translates more or less into "Go and Open the Window". As far as we know, this "Heimatfilm" is the feature film début of Joachim Fuchsberger; he was so well-known and his part so important that his name isn't on the poster. Among the nine films that scriptwriter and director Anton Kutter (13 June 1903 — 1 February 1985) directed that we know of, he did the two short films below, neither of which have anything to do with Fuchsberger. Weltraumschiff I startet ["Space Ship I Launches"] (1937) is an early sci-fi (and dry as only a German film can be) about the first rocket to the moon, which Anton predicted Germany would do on 13 June 1963. The second film, Germanen gegen Pharaonen ["Germanics against Pharaohs"] (1939) is a Nazi propaganda short that equivalents the Nazi regime to the time of the Pharaohs. Both are presented below, in German and without subtitles.
Full Short —
Weltraumschiff 1 startet (1937):

Full Short —
 Germanen gegen Pharaonen (1939):

(1954, dir. Paul May)

Paul May (8 May 1909—25 February 1976) directed 40 films between 1935 and 1972, five of which featured Joachim Fuchsberger, and three of those belonging to the trilogy from which this film heralds. The other two titles in the series: 08/15 — Zweiter Teil ["08/15 — Part II"] (1955) and 08/15 — In der Heimat ["08/15 — At Home"] (1955).
First 15 Minutes of Part I in German:
In this series, Fuchsberger plays Herbert Asch, who over the course of the three movies advances from Gefreiter (Private) to Wachtmeister (Sergeant) to Leutnant (Lieutenant). The series made him famous. (Mario Adorf, by the way, made his film debut in the first film of the series.) We have our doubts that this whitewashing West German war-film series ever made it to English-speaking lands; we've only seen parts of it and found offensive in the same way that we find The Birth of the Nation (1915 / film) offensive: it's politics are massively skewed, the film oddly ignorant.
To simply use what's currently (12 Sept 14) written at Wikipedia: "The term 08/15 (nill-eight/fifteen, German: Null-Acht/Fünfzehn) refers to the German Army's standard machine gun, the 08/15 (or MG 08 model 15), by far the most-common German machine gun deployed in World War I. It was manufactured in such large quantities that it became the German Army slang for anything that was standard issue. [In fact, the term is still used today by the general masses to refer to anything totally mundane or unexceptional, be it a meal, a movie or what someone looks like or performs in bed.] The film follows the story of Private Asch, a German soldier in World War II. The film title implies that Asch, and the soldiers under his command, were unostentatious (i.e. 'run-of-the-mill') characters deployed on the Eastern Front. [...] The last of the 08/15 film trilogy ends with Germany being occupied by American soldiers who are portrayed as bubble-gum chewing, slack-jawed, uncultured louts, inferior in every respect to the heroic German soldiers. The only exception is the Jewish emigrant, now a US officer, who is shown as both intelligent and unscrupulous, the fact interpreted by Professor Omer Bartov as implying that the 'real tragedy of World War II was that the Nazis did not get a chance to exterminate all Semites, who have now returned with Germany's defeat to once more exploit the German people'."
As far as we are concerned, Paul May's best film is probably Scotland Yard vs. Dr. Mabuse (1963) with Peter van Eyck.
Scotland Yard vs. Dr. Mabuse (1963) — Scene in German:

Der letzte Mann
(1955, dir. Harald Braun [26 April 1901 — 24 Sept 1960])

Literal translation of the title: "The Last Man". Fuchsberger plays Alwin Radspieler in this remake of F. W. Murnau's classic silent movie, Der letzte Mann / The Last Laugh (1924 / see below), a fabulously tragic and visually superlative movie — true film art — flawed only by the happy ending the studio forced Murnau to use and which, perhaps intentionally on his part, comes across as ironically sarcastic after all the sadness that precedes the final scene, a scene in turn preceded by the only title card in the entire silent film, which reads: "Here the story should really end, for, in real life, the forlorn old man would have little to look forward to but death. The author took pity on him and has provided a quite improbable epilogue."
Harald Braun's version, a Hans Albers vehicle, is not art and is also more or less a fairytale and ends with the line: "They got married, and they had many children". Plot: "Maitre Karl Knesebeck (Albers) virtually runs the spa hotel Hövelmann because the owner (Camilla Spira) is ill. When she dies, her smoothie nephew Alwin (Fuchsberger) takes over the top post. The niece of the former owner, Niddy (Romy Schneider), for whom Knesebeck is virtually a father, falls in love with Alwin, who demotes Knesebeck to being a washroom attendant. There, Knesebeck one day meets his old friend of his, Campbell, the owner of a hotel chain. Campbell simply buys the Hövelmann, tosses Alwin out, and appoints Knesebeck as director. But can the two old men prevent the wedding between Alwin and Niddy?"
Murnue's The Last Laugh (1924) — The Full Movie:

Symphonie in Gold
(1956, writ & dir. Franz Antel [28 June 1913 — 11 Aug 2007])
By this movie here, Fuchsberger was a big enough name to be one of the the headlining stars. The movie is unimportant, one of any number of the 08/15 lowbrow musical revue films that flooded the German-language film market throughout the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
The plot, to loosely translate the Das größte Filmlexikon der Welt: "A mysterious ice dancer leads his teammates to win the European Championship. Undemanding pleasing entertainment with sport, love, a lot of music, some comedy and performances of the Vienna Ice Revue." Fuchsberger, playing "Walter Gerlos", did not do his own skating; that was done by Fernand Leemans who also plays Gerlos's film competitor "Bill Johnson".
Of more interest than this film is the Austrian director Franz Antel, a famed womaniser and possible to-the-end anti-Semite who had 100 films (and five marriages) under his belt by the time he died in 2007. His speciality was K. u. k. films ["Austro-Hungarian Monarchy films"], "[an] Austrian film genre, mostly set in aristocratic circles of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, [involving] nearly inexhaustible dramaturgical possibilities [and] numerous operetta films. During the 60s, however, Antel began to direct, produce and/or write soft-core sex comedies under the name "François Legrand" — for example, Sexy Susan Sins Again (1968), The Tower of Screaming Virgins (1968 / 31 minutes), Wild, Willing & Sexy (1969), Don't Tell Daddy aka Naughty Nymphs (1972 / trailer) and Casanova & Co. (1987 / see below, with Tony Curtis) — many of which were nevertheless still K. u. k. films. More embarrassing than sexy today, they nevertheless have their psychotronic appeal.
Trailer to Casanova & Co. (1987):

(1956, dir. Franz Antel)
Another Franz Antel movie — would the poster make you want to see the film? Didn't think so. Lumpazivagabundus is a remake of the 1936 version of the same name starring Heinz Rühmann, which itself was a remake of the lost (?) 1919 silent version directed by Jacob and Luise Fleck; all are based on the play Der boese Geist Lumpazivagabundus by Johann Nestroy (7 December 1801 — 25 May 1862), "the Austrian Shakespeare".
Someone who speaks some English, cynthiahost, once saw the movie and wrote a review at imdb, which we've decided to rewrite in somewhat better English: "There's a bad fairy named Lumpi (Gunther Luders), a good fairy named Fotuna (Jan Tildman), and the heavenly father (Theadore Danegger). Lumpi and Fortuna make a bet about whether money will change three good-for-nothings: an ex-tailor (Gunther Phillips), an alcoholic ex-shoemaker (Paul Horbinger), and an ex-carpenter (Joachim Fuchsberger). When all three win a lottery, all go their separate ways. Phillips dumps his waiter girlfriend (Renate Ewert) for Senoria Palpiti (Jester Naefe) and becomes a count. Fuchsberger gets his girl back, but does nothing. Horbinger find a decrepit castle and invites other hobos to come and get drunk with him there. It all turns sour. Phillips realizes that Palpiti is a gold digger, Horgbinger realizes he has had too much, and Fuchsberger want to practice his craft again and goes to America with his wife. All three realize that money does not bring happiness, so Fortuna wins the bet." Exciting.
Heinz Rühmann in Lumpazivagabundus (1936):

...und vergib mir meine Schuld
(1957, dir. Carlo Campogalliani)

Luciano Tajoli Sings in
...und vergib mir meine Schuld:
Original title, Ascoltami; released in English as Song of Naples; literal translation of the title would be "...And Forgive Me My Sins". Fuchsberger goes to Italy for a Luciano Tajoli vehicle directed by Carlo Campogalliani (10 October 1885 — 10 August 1974), whose directorial and acting and scriptwriting career(s) went way back to the silents. Campogalliani ended his career doing mostly sword and sandal and costume films with faves like Jack Palance (Sword of the Conqueror [1961 / full movie]), Ed Fury (Mighty Ursus [1961 / scene]), Mark Forest (Son of Samson [1960 / trailer]) and, of course — Sigh! — Steve Reeves (Goliath and the Barbarians [1959 / trailer]). gives this flick here no stars, calling it "a miserable pretense of a story shoehorned in and around star Tajoli's sung numbers". The plot? Imdb supplies that: "A famous singer abandons his wife and goes to live abroad with a woman he met in a night club. A car accident upsets his life — he loses his job and his new love but he regains his sons and peace of mind."
In all truth, we only include ...und vergib mir meine Schuld here as an excuse to present this lecker beefcake photo of a semi-nude Mark Forest above, who's sort of dressed in the film below.
Trailer to Son of Samson (1960),
with Mark Forest:

Die Zwillinge vom Zillertal
(1957, dir. Harald Reinl)

Really, what a crappy poster! Translation of the title: "The Twins of Ziller Valley" — the twins being the famed (in German-speaking Europe) Kessler Twins. Die Zwillinge vom Zillertal is an early Harald Reinl film with Fuchsberger and — Surprise! (Not!) — the lovely Karin Dor (whom most English-speakers only know as the German bad girl who gets fed to the piranhas in You Only Live Twice [1967 / trailer]). It was the first of nine Reinl films featuring Joachim Fuchsberger, any and all of which are better than this one, a "Heimatfilm" that verges on being a parody of a Heimat film, possibly intentionally, but doubtful. In the course of his career, Fuchsberger appeared in a total of 10 films with Dor, 11 if you count the German TV 2011 documentary German Grusel — Die Edgar Wallace-Serie (full documentary).
The plot, loosely translated from "Baroness von Auerstein (Margarete Haagen) is plagued by financial worries. Therefore, she wants her son Franz (Fuchsberger) to marry Daniela (Dor), the daughter of a rich merchant. While Franz spends his spare time with the twins Christel and Reserl, Daniela falls in love with a law student. Franz and Daniela pretend to be a happy courting couple to their parents, which the twins do not like..." The movie ends with the simultaneous marriage of four couples.
From the Movie — Zillertal-Boogie:

Die grünen Teufel von Monte Cassino
(1958, dir. Harald Reinl)
Fuchsberger's second movie with Reinl, a war film, also released as Battle of Monte Cassino. has a plot: "Towards the end of the WW II, the fighting in Italy threatens to reach the Abbey of Monte Cassino. To save the valuable art treasures at the monastery from the American bombing raids, Schlegel (Ewald Balser), the German Lieutenant-Colonel orders to have them all brought to Rome. A parachute division holds the position as the enemies move closer."
Das größte Filmlexikon der Welt says that Battle of Monte Cassino is "a war film that strives for a certain earnestness, but is weakened by its embarrassing superficiality and historical inaccuracies; a questionable mixture of adventure and epic heroicness that thinks mainly of the impact on the audience."
The three throw-away female parts include Inge (Antje Geerk of Hard Times for Dracula aka Uncle Was A Vampire [1959 / full movie]), Gina (Elma Karlowa of Crime and Passion [1976 / trailer]) and Hélène (Agnès Laurent of England's first sex comedy Mary Had a Little... [1961 / first 9 minutes], The Sellers of Girls [1957 / see below] and The Twilight Girls [1957 / full movie]).
Has Nothing to Do with Fuchsberger —
Trailer to The Sellers of Girls (1957):

Liebe kann wie Gift sein
(1958, dir. Veit Harlan)
Fuchsberger plays Stefan Bruck, the nicer guy of the two main male characters in, to literally translate the title, "Love Can Be Like Poison", a late entry in the film career of Veit Harlan (22 September 1899 — 13 April 1964), known to some as "the baroque fascist".
Harlan's first wife, Jewish actress and cabaret singer Dora Gerson, whom he divorced in 1924, died with her entire family in Auschwitz. Veit Harlan, however, had a great career in Nazi Germany: embracing the National Socialist regime, the talented director quickly became one of Joseph Goebbels' leading directors of big budget propaganda films like Kolberg (1945 / scene). The austerity of war is not noticeable in any of his colorful and expensive movies, most of which featured his prototypically Aryan third wife Kristina Söderbaum (his second wife, Hilde Körber, he divorced to ensure his position in the NS film industry). The most infamous of his movies is surely the anti-Jew "drama" Jud Süß (1940 / full film in German).
Harlan managed to successfully defend himself against charges of crimes against humanity after the war — the Nazis controlled the content of his films, after all, not he — and enjoyed a respectable post-war directorial career, which includes West Germany's first film dealing with the topic of homosexuals, the blatantly anti-gay Das dritte Geschlecht ["The Third Sex"] aka Anders als du und ich ["Different from You and Me"] aka Bewildered Youth (1957 / full film).* Harlan died while on vacation in Capri — was the world was a better place for it?
* Did you know that electronic music and modern art and wrestling makes you queer?

The Cookies — I Want a Boy for My Birthday
(with footage from Bewildered Youth):

To loosely translate the plot description at "The downfall of a girl from a good home: Magdalena (Sabine Sesselmann of Die Tür mit den 7 Schlössern [1962 / German trailer]), who grew up in a strict boarding and is curious about life, becomes the lover and nude model of a painter (Helmut Schmid of Des Satans nackte Sklavin aka The Head [1959 / full movie] and The Testament of Dr. Mabuse [1962 / trailer]), who only uses her and soon leaves her. After an exhibition of painted nudes, her father (Willy Birgel of Ein Sarg aus Hongkong [1964 / trailer below]) rejects her, and Magdalena ends as a drug-addicted prostitute. Only her childhood friend, Stefan (Fuchsberger), a medical student, still thinks well of her. But he now loves someone else (Renate Ewert of Der Rote Kreis [1960] and Agent 505 — Todesfalle Beirut [1966 / German trailer]). After two failed suicides, Magdalena dies in the hospital."
Based on a novel Andrea und die rote Nacht by Gilbert Merlin, which had supposedly for a while been indexed in Bonn as "indecent", and filmed in West Berlin, the film was slammed left and right but was a box office success.
German Trailer to Ein Sarg aus Hongkong (1964):

U47 — Kapitänleutnant Prien
(1958, dir. Harald Reinl)

Trailer to U47 — Kapitänleutnant Prien:
Yet another war film with Harald Reinl; the title, translated, is "Submarine 47 — Lieutenant Commander Prien". The real-life submarine captain Günther Prien (16 January 1908 — [presumed] 7 March 1941), commander of German U-boat U-47, was a war hero of Germany during the first half of WWII; he and his crew sank over 30 allied ships, including the British battleship HMS Royal Oak at anchor in the Home Fleet's anchorage in Scapa Flow. The movie paints Prein (Dieter Eppler of Slaughter of the Vampires [1962 / trailer] and The Pit and the Pendulum [1967 / trailer]) as a loyal patriot with a conscious who comes to realize that he cannot ignore the evil happening in his homeland, but dies before he can really do anything. There is a lot of whitewashing in the movie — Prien, an active member of the German resistance? — and Prien in the only named character in the movie that is not fictitious. Prien's death is also fictitious, as there is no documented evidence of any kind that reveals the how, where or when Prien and his crew of 47 died — they were simply never heard of again.
To loosely translate the German plot description at Filmportal: "Germany, 1939: after the U-boat captain Prien is awarded the Knight's Cross for his success on the seas, his old friend, Pastor Krille (Dieter Borsche Ein Toter sucht seinen Mörder aka The Brain [1962 / trailer] and Der Henker von London aka The Mad Executioners [1963 / trailer below]), asks him to use his position as a folk hero to intervene for those persecuted by the Nazi regime. Initially Prien categorically refuses, but gradually a change of mind occurs. Finally, a little later, when he visits his by-now jailed friend in prison, Prien realizes he can no longer support the bellicose war machinations of the Nazis. But before he can do all that much, Oberleutnant Thomas Birkeneck (Fuchsberger) kills him... and then dies himself." calls the movie a mere footnote in the history of German film that at best is of interest — but not of imperative interest — to fans of Joachim Fuchsberger and another popular German entertainer, the Berliner Harald Juhnke.
German Trailer to Der Henker von London
 aka The Mad Executioners (1963):

Das Mädchen mit den Katzenaugen
(1958, dir. Eugen York [26 Nov 1912 — 18 Nov 1991])

German Trailer:

As far as we can tell, this obscure German Krimi is the first such film that Joachim Fuchsberger starred in. The title translates into "The Girl with Cat's Eyes". offers the same plot description that is found on many a German website, so we assume it probably comes from the DVD cover: "On the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, more and more cars are being stolen, and Commissioner Norbert Wilms (Joachim Fuchsberger) is given the job of finding out who's responsible. Meanwhile, Katya (Vera Tschechowa of Das Amulet des Todes aka Cold Blood [1975 / trailer below]), who's had some professional setbacks, returns home to her father (Gert Fröbe). Soon, she realizes something is rotten in the State of Denmark: A brutal gang of car thieves is blackmailing her father into helping them. All the criminal activity radiates from the Rio Rita Bar, where the girl with the cat's eyes bewitches the men..."
Katya, of course, gets a job at the Rio Rita Bar. And though we have yet to see the movie, we are sure Fuchsberger gets the car thieves — and the girl — in the end.
Vera Tschechowa (and Rutger Hauer) in
Das Amulett des Todes (1975) — German Trailer:

Die feuerrote Baronesse
(1959, dir. Rudolf Jugert)
Possibly aka The Scarlett Baroness. Rudolf Jugert (30 September 1907 — 14 April 1979) began his directorial career as a second-unit director, as which he even worked on a few German classics — Unter den Brücken (1946) & Große Freiheit Nr. 7 (1944 / full movie), for example — before taking on full directorial chores with his first solo directorial film, the underappreciated and interesting and experimental Film ohne Titel aka Film without a Name (1948) which, according to one online scholar, is an "inventive reflection on cinematic form and function, and the process of making movies, [which] was not seen again in German film until the rise of Fassbinder and Herzog in the 1970s." Most of the rest of his output is less interesting, but he did also do an occasional B-film like Blonde Mädchen für Havanna aka Endstation Rote Laterne (1960) — which we look at later — and Der Satan lockt mit Liebe aka Devil's Choice and/or Satan Tempts with Love (1960 / see below).
German Trailer to Satan Tempts with Love (1960):
We actually found an English-language plot description at Movies Unlimited: "Atomic-age thriller tells the gripping story of a British agent dispatched to steal top secret documents from a German laboratory. The spy (Joachim Fuchsberger) gets a leg up on his mission with the assistance of a young woman (Dawn Addams) whose father works for the secret service. [...] Dubbed in English."
The beautiful and mostly forgotten Dawn Addams (21 September 1930 — 7 May 1985) is the lead female; over at imdb, someone named Guy Bellinger hypothesizes: "Maybe because her beauty was too smooth or because her acting talents were limited or both, Dawn Addams, the daughter of an R.A.F. officer [and wife, from 1954 to 1971, of Don Vittorio Emanuele Massimo, Prince of Roccasecca], had an undistinguished film career in which second-rate pictures far outnumber quality ones." But what great "second-rate pictures" they are — among others: The Unknown Man (1951 / trailer), the embarrassing Riders to the Stars (1954 / full movie), Hot Money Girl (1959 / trailer), Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse aka The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse (1960 / trailer)*, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll (1960 / see below), Zeta One (1969 / trailer), The Vampire Lovers (1970 / trailer) and The Vault of Horror (1973 / trailer).
* Doesn't Dawn look fabulous in her skimpies?
Trailer to The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll,
with Dawn Addams:

Der Frosch mit der Maske
(1959, dir. Harald Reinl)

German Trailer:

Aka Face of the Frog, based on the Edgar Wallace novel The Fellowship of the Frog. The movie that first introduced us to the actor Joachim Fuchsberger, it is fourth film he made with director Reinl, and an important one in the history of contemporary German film. To simply quote the opening of our review of the film: "When it comes to the famed German Edgar Wallace film series, this is the one that started it all: the first post-WWII, German-language film of an Edgar Wallace story." It is the template that dozens and dozens and dozens of German B-films and Krimis followed for years to come — and an entertaining film at that.
Fuchsberger, of course, gets the girl...

Endstation Rote Laterne
(1960, dir. Rudolf Jugert)
Joachim Fuchsberger in another movie directed by Rudolf Jugert (see: Die feuerrote Baronesse), this time a 100% German B-film like we like them — but we have yet to see this one. (In recent years, regrettably, German TV has substantially cut the broadcasting of all their wonderful B-Schinken of the 60s.)
Aka Blonde Mädchen für Havanna, it is a remake of the 1950 movie Export in Blond from Eugen York (the director of Das Mädchen mit den Katzenaugen [see above]), which is likewise based on the novel Plüsch und Plemowski by Norbert Jacques, the creator of the character Dr. Mabuse.
"Final Stop: Red Lights" or "Blonde Girls for Havana", as the two titles more-or-less translate into, was produced by the unsung hero of an untold number of early German trash movies, Wolf C. Hartwig, the man who brought the world such non-classics as the infamous Horrors of Spider Island (1960) and the mostly unknown (even in Germany) D-film, Isle of Sin (1960); like many an early Hartwig production, Blonde Mädchen für Havanna seems never to have made it to the English-speaking world and remains difficult to find even in Germany.
To translate semmal1985's plot synopsis found at the illegal download site Bloodsuckerz.Net: "The young journalist Verena Linkmann (Christine Görner) is on the trail of an unscrupulous white slavery ring. In Amsterdam, where she goes undercover as in a nightclub as a 'hostess', she meets the policeman Martin Stelling (Fuchsberger), who is following the same leads."
Christine Görner Sings in a Different Movie
(Mandolinen und Mondschein [1959]):

Die zornigen jungen Männer
(1960, dir. Wolf Rilla [16 March 1920 — 19 Oct 2005])

Fuchsberger plays the doc, Dr. Jürgen Faber. The movie is possibly aka The Scarlett Baroness — but we doubt it — and/or (the literal translation of the title) The Angry Young Men. It has yet to be released on DVD, and we have never seen it on the tube.
Director Wolf Rilla was the son of the always entertaining German actor Walter Rilla (of, for example, 4 Schlüssel [1966], The Gamma People [1956 / trailer], Day of Anger [1967 / trailer], Malpertuis [1971 / trailer], Jess Franco's Edgar Wallace film Der Teufel kam aus Akasava [1971 / trailer], and much more). Way back when Hitler came into power, Walter Rilla, a successful but Jewish actor, was smart enough to leave in a cloud of dust for England, where Wolf grew up to become a film director. Wolf Rilla directed one undisputed classic movie, The Village of the Damned (1960 / trailer), and a less classic sequel, The Children of the Damned (1964 / trailer), but ended his career with two less than notable comedies Secrets of a Door-to-Door Salesman aka Naughty Wives (1973 / see below) and Bedtime with Rosie (1975), the last with Diana Dors. The Angry Young Men is equally obscure, but is a drama. He and his wife Shirley Graham-Ellis spent their twilight years running a hotel in Fayence (Provence, France).
John Carpenter did an unnecessary and unsuccessful remake of The Village of the Damned, perhaps one of his worst movies, in 1995.
To loosely translate the plot description given in the German publication Das größte Filmlexikon der Welt ("The Largest Film Lexicon in the World"): "A Hamburg-based corporate group that produces and markets harmful drugs influences the Bundestag to put an impending ban on the backburner, blackmails a hospital, and has a harlot seduce a competent doctor. A film full of pseudo-problems that cannot hide its supermarket tabloid origins."
NSFW Trailer to Wolf Rilla's
Secrets of a Door-to-Door Salesman (1973):

Secrets of a Door to Door Salesman (1973) trailer von gpgoogle

Die Bande des Schreckens
(1960, dir. Harald Reinl)


Fuchsberger's fifth film with Harald Reinl and his second Edgar Wallace movie, as it was for Reinl; Reinl's then-wife Karin Dor was along for the ride in her first Wallace movie. Die Bande des Schreckens was the first one of the series to be a purely German production, the early ones being Danish co-productions. We haven't seen this one yet, but we here at A Wasted Life plan to, one day. As far as we know, it never got released in the US, but it did eventually make it onto TV as Hand of the Gallows and The Terrible People.
The Wallace novel used this time around is The Terrible People, and thus the movie is per say a remake of the same-named but now lost movie serial — so please check your attic — from 1928, directed by "The Serial King" Spencer Gordon Bennet (5 Jan 1893 — 8 Oct 1987).
Over at Die Besten Horrorfilms they call the movie a well-cast chiller-Krimi that is still enjoyable today, an opinion shared by Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings, which breaks the plot down to the following: "A criminal [Otto Colin, who appeared in Reinl and Dor's next Wallace movie, The Forger of London (1961)] vows to murder all the people responsible for his capture, arrest and execution. Sure enough, after the execution, the various parties responsible begin to die one by one."
Like many of the Wallace Krimis, Die Bande des Schreckens could literally be called a body-count movie disguised as a crime flick. Fuchsberger plays Chief Inspector Long, and he not only solves the case, but he gets the girl

Go here for Part II (1961-65).

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