Thursday, 4 October 2012

Der Hauptmann von Köpenick 1931

Lowry refers to the film in a letter to Clemens ten Holder dated 31/10/1951; "I think I have seen nearly all the great German films.....and other late masterpieces like the Kapitan von Kopernick..." (Collected Letters Vol 2 Pg. 445). Sherrill Grace's annotation in the Collected Letters states that Lowry was referring to the play of the same name. However, Lowry is referring to the 1931 film version which we must assume he saw at the time of release.

The Captain from Köpenick (German: Der Hauptmann von Köpenick) is a 1931 German comedy film directed by Richard Oswald and produced by Gabriel Pascal. It is one of several films based on the 1931 play by the same name written by Carl Zuckmayer. The story centers around the Hauptmann von Köpenick affair in 1906.

Der Hauptmann von Köpenick is based on a true story that took place in Germany in 1906. A poor cobbler named Wilhelm Voigt purchased the second-hand uniform of a Prussian infantry captain. Wearing this, he travelled to the borough of Köpenick and ordered a troop of guardsmen to place themselves under his command. He then declared the town hall to be under military law, ordering the arrest of the mayor and treasurer and confiscating all the funds in the exchequer. In this film version it's a considerable sum of 4,000 reichsmarks. Voigt's orders were obeyed without question and he temporarily got away with the caper, although he was eventually caught. Wikipedia

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