HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
Piranhas
Love in the Afternoon
Black Water: Abyss
Wild Blue Yonder, The
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
White, White Day, A
Strong Medicine
   
 
Newest Articles
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
   
 
  Emil and the Detectives Tough On Skrinks, Tough On the Causes of Skrinks
Year: 1964
Director: Peter Tewksbury
Stars: Walter Slezak, Bryan Russell, Roger Mobley, Heinz Schubert, Peter Ehrlich, Cindy Cassell, Elsa Wagner, Eva Ingeborg Scholz, Wolfgang Volz, Frank Nicklisch, Brian Richardson, Robert Swann, David Petrychka, Ann Noland, Ron Johnson
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: On a bus ride to Berlin, young Emil Tischbein (Bryan Russell) is robbed of four hundred marks by eccentric pickpocket Grundeis (Heinz Schubert). Lost in the big city, Emil finds a friend in Gustav Fleischman (Roger Mobley), an enterprising young lad who fancies himself a detective, who swears he can catch the crook and recover the money. For a small fee of course. Gustav and his gang of boy detectives are less than thrilled when Emil’s cousin, pushy girl reporter Pony Heimbold (Cindy Cassell) elbows her way into the adventure, but the kids quickly realise something bigger is going on than just the theft of four hundred marks. They discover Grundeis working alongside the Baron (Walter Slezak), a suave master criminal long thought dead, and his thuggish associate Muller (Peter Ehrlich) on a tunnel leading to an underground vault. Now all the detectives have to do is convince the police.

Erich Kästner’s 1929 novel is a German children’s classic twice filmed in its native land, in 1931 from a screenplay written by Billy Wilder and an uncredited Emeric Pressburger and in 1954, and once in the UK in 1954 before this Walt Disney production arrived on the scene. Another German adaptation reached the big screen in 2001, this time given a 21st century update in keeping with Kästner’s book which had drawn praise for being set in a contemporary and relatively rough-hewn Berlin, populated by faceted child heroes in place of obvious moralising.

The Disney movie retains many of these qualities. It’s a well-crafted children’s film full of engaging performances, amusing sight gags and most importantly, an involving story not too dissimilar from the Ealing Studios classic Hue and Cry (1947). Peter Tewksbury, who made numerous sitcoms and later a pair of underwhelming Elvis Presley vehicles (Stay Away, Joe (1968) and The Trouble With Girls (1969)), combines some Mack Sennett style slapstick comedy with oddball camera angles that lend an eccentric air of mystery, close to a parody of The Third Man (1949). The film also benefits from a nicely sardonic turns from veteran Walter Slezak as the aristocratic villain slumming it with lower class criminals. Also of note is Heinz Schubert, who later found sitcom fame as the German Alf Garnett. His deadpan buffoonery embodies every young child’s idea of how a slippery criminal behaves.

Filmed in West Berlin on streets still infested with post-war rubble, there is a welcome sense of danger, placing Emil in genuine peril. He is a child adrift in a city of uncaring adults with only kids to turn to. And what child detectives they are: accident-prone Herman (Robert Swann), sensible Professor (Brian Richardson), squabbling twins Hans and Rudolph (Ron Johnson), and Dienstag (David Petrychka) who mans their “secret headquarters” when not being interrupted by his gossipy older sister (Ann Noland). They’re still kids though and prone to lapses of judgement which leads to a well-scripted confrontation between Gustav, Pony and the Professor, when things get out of hand. The boys may be loathe to admit it, but the script gives Pony the same nose for mystery and tenacious streak they have. In fact the 2001 update promotes Pony to chief detective. A girl leading the detectives? What would Gustav say?

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 5301 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: