WORLD CINEMA: People on Sunday

The absolute star power behind the little-known, 73-minute German delight People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag) is astonishing. Billy Wilder, check, Fred Zinnemann, check, Edgar G. Ulmer, check, Eugen Schufftan, check, the Siodmak brothers, check and check. As lovely as People on Sunday is, and it is, all of that Austrian and German up-and-coming talent, later put to good use in Hollywood for years to come, is quite powerful and it’s what makes people want to see it.

Here’s what we’re dealing with here: People on Sunday follows several people on a sunny weekend in Berlin, as they enjoy themselves at the beach, the parks, boat ride, etc, when romance blossoms and friendships are put to the test. These people, it should be noted, were not actors but rather real-life people who were essentially playing themselves, in that sort of German realism way that has become so popular over the years. People on Sunday, of course, is not as dark as other German pictures of the era, and it’s actually bittersweet to know how unaware they all were of the horrors that were to come a few years later. Nevertheless, it stands out as an absolutely delightful film. Obviously the big thing about it is the huge amount of talent involved in the making of the film: screenplay by Billy Wilder and Robert and Curt Siodmak, cinematography by Eugen Schufftan and Fred Zinnemann, direction by Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer. All of them fled Germany a few years later and became, as we all know, huge in Hollywood. I kind of like to think they didn’t know how big they’d all be while they were making this picture. It’s sweet.

Re-recommending summer movies!

Summer’s here! (I need to stop doing that)

I’m not going to recommend any more classic summer movies because I’ve talked about enough of them, so instead I’ll just re-recommend a few, complete with links! Here’s a little recap:

  • Million Dollar Mermaid, a.k.a. Esther Williams as real-life swimmer Annette Kellerman and Thrill of a Romance, in which she and Van Johnson embark on a cute summer romance. This was a Double Bill from three years ago. Ah, Double Bill, I miss those.
  • Purple Noon, a recent WORLD CINEMA one, and the original The Talented Mr Ripley starring Alain Delon
  • And my personal favorite summer flick of all time, and Hitchcock’s most light-hearted one, To Catch a Thief. Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, the French Riviera… it’s just too much. To Catch a Thief (1955) <- you get two reviews, ’cause I’m just obsessed with it.