Film Review: Glückskinder


Little known outside Germany, Paul Martin’s Glückskinder gets a restoration. The 1936 film, loosely based on Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night, owes much to Hollywood’s studio era productions.

Tricked into covering the courthouse coverage for newspaper he hopes to write poetry for, Gil Taylor hopes to net a decent story. When Ann Garden is brought before the judge, Gil steps in to help, little realising the outcome of his act of kindness…

Glückskinder, or its English title Lucky Kids, very much emulates Hollywood films of the same period. It is screwball comedy cum musical, with its style dialogue exchanges borrowed from American films. Glückskinder is not quite as amusing as the films that it apes, although it has a certain charm to it.

The characters in Glückskinder function appropriately. There are some slapstick supporting characters, but the film works best in its exchanges between Gil and Ann. The musical number is fun, although a little out of place with the lack of other songs.

The fact that the film is set in America is a little strange. There is no need for the New York setting, other than that Glückskinder is emulating American films. It is interesting that the film has an almost pro-American stance given the time it was produced and the pressure to adhere to propaganda. However, it is understandable as a product of escapism. There is also one swipe at American culture late on in the film.

The restoration of Glückskinder is good; any flaws in the filming and editing seem to be part of the original. The film offers an entertaining glance into the escapist cinema of Nazi Germany.

Glückskinder was screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013.

Films on Television

Today sees the launch of the Sony Movie Channel in the UK. It got me thinking about the possibility of every major distributor having their own film channel. It would call into question the dominance of packages like Sky Movies. Currently, there are only a few film channels available without the Sky Movies package, most notably Film4 and TCM. Disney offer a host of channels, although their Disney CineMagic requires a subscription. If other major distributors follow Sony’s lead, it would change how people view films on television. There would still be a need for ‘premier’ channels, as it would be unlikely that a distributor channel would show its own films on television that soon after theatrical release.

Futhermore, the main television channels would also still show films and feature terrestrial television premiers of new movies. Nevertheless, more non-subscription film channels would offer the television viewer more choice. And given the proliferation of streaming and online viewing services, new film channels would surely increase the viewership of films on television.

If every major distributor follows Sony’s example, what can we expect these new channels to show? I pondered what delights may be on offer…

Sony Pictures

Sony Movie Channel launches on 3rd May 2012. The very first film screened will be Woody Allen’s fantastic Manhattan Murder Mystery. The channel will be screening films from the last three decades, so not quite the full back catalogue of Sony Pictures. If they choose to extend this remit, the channel could screen some fantastic films. At their best Sony have distributed classics such as It Happened One Night and Ghostbusters. They are also responsible for Jack and Jill.

20th Century Fox

The television side of the Fox corporation is alive and kicking, particularly in America. If Twentieth Century Fox had their own movie channel, audiences could expect such delights as Star Wars and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Also on offer would be Big Momma’s House and its sequels.

Paramount Pictures

One of the major film companies of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Paramount have a rich back catalogue. A Paramount movie channel could offer some of the finest films ever made, including Double Indemnity and Rear Window. The channel could also screen No Strings Attached.

Universal Pictures

Celebrating their 100th anniversary this week, Universal also have a tremendous array of films to populate a hypothetical movie channel with. Viewers could look forward to tuning in to Bride of Frankenstein and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. 2004’s Wimbledon may not attract quite the same viewing figures.

Warner Bros

Famed for their crime films in the 1930s and 1940s, and their box office-dominating recent franchises, a Warner Bros move channel could feature a cornucopia of classic films. Films as diverse as The Maltese Falcon and The Dark Knight could be aired,  but so could 2011’s New Year’s Eve.

Sony Movie Channel launches on Thursday 3rd May 2012 in the UK, on Sky channel 323.