emil-and-the-detectives-emil-und-die-detektive-mar-24thSPECIAL EVENT with ABINGDON & DISTRICT TWIN TOWNS SOCIETY
Based upon the popular children’s book of the same title by Erich Kästner, and jointly adapted by Billy Wilder and Emeric Pressburger, the film’s pre-WW2 scenes bring to life the beauty of the wide avenues of the Berlin. Emil Tischbein is sent by his hard up mother to stay with relations in Berlin. She gives him 140 marks for expenses which he must guard with his life from the robbers he is likely to meet. The inevitable happens when Emil encounters a strange man in a hat on the train and unwiser accepts a sweet. However, a group of street urchins comes to his aid and they track the thief down. Jolly Boys Own stuff. (Cert U)
Dir: Gerhardt Lamprecht 69 mins Germany 1931
Doors open at 7.00 p.m. for this joint event with Abingdon and District Twin Towns Society. It is in the main programme and is covered by your subscription — (food & drink extra). Film starts at 7.45 p.m.

Programme Notes

Joint presentation with Abingdon & District Twin Towns Society
Emil und die Detektive
(Emil and the Detectives)
Germany 1931 69mins Cert U

When published in 1929, Erich Kästner’s novel for children, Emil und die Detektive, was an immediate success and remains extremely popular in many countries around the world, the first film adaptation appearing just two years later. The story revolves around Emil, a young village boy sent to Berlin to visit his grandmother. His money is stolen but with ingenuity and persistence he retrieves it, helped by of a gang of streetwise Berlin kids.

The film is technically highly accomplished. It’s often observed that visual film-craft regressed after the introduction of sound, because the technical requirements of the new equipment conflicted with the imaginative freedoms that creative cinematography demanded. Not so in this very early sound film, at any rate, with its expressive montage and outdoor sequences. For the latter, and despite the new, complicated sound equipment, director Gerhardt Lamprecht drew convincing dialogue from his child actors.

Acknowledgements: Michael Rosen, Caren Willig, Emil and the Detectives, BFI 2013

Frau Tischbein – Käthe Haack
Emil Tischbein – Rolf Wenkhaus
Grandmamma – Olga Engl
Wachtmeister Jesche – Rudolf Biebrach
Man in Bowler Hat – Fritz Rasp
Pony Hütchen – Inge Langut
Gustav mit the Horn – Hans Joachim Schaufuss
The Flying Stag – Hans Richter
The Professor – Hubert Schmitz
Deinstag – Hans Albrecht Lohr
Gerold – Waldemar Kupczyk
Mittenzwey – Ernst-Eberhard Reling

Director – Gerhardt Lamprecht
Producer – Günther Stapenhorst
Screenplay – Billie Wilder, Paul Franck, Emeric Pressburger
Original Novel – Erich Kästner
Story Consultant – Carl Mayer
Cinematography – Werner Brandes
Music – Allan Grey
Sound – Hermann Frtizsching, Dr. Carlheinz Becker


“Great fun! Charming! Colossal!”

“Delightful film”

“Enjoyable simplicity”

“Very good – thank you”

“Excellent. Pure entertainment – and I could understand most of the German.”

“Lovely – shades of the Gorbals Diehards”

“Wunderbar – vorsprung durch technik!”

“Very enjoyable. Interesting to see what Berlin looked like in 1931. Kept fairly close to the book.”

“I read this book over and over again as a child and seeing the film didn’t disappoint.”

“Enjoyed very much despite the fact that much of it was not the same as the book – both were good stories.”

“Very good – but varied a lot from the original story.”

“A lot of changes from the book but very nearly as good.”

“Maybe it worked better as a book.”

“A charming children’s film that featured entertaining music and sharp editing. The premise was rather slight but the pacing made it a rather good romp.”

“Very good child actors – a nice historical film”

“Only two years until the end of innocence – 1933 and AH as Chancellor!”

“And all that just before 1000DM became transactionally worthless!”

“Funny but tinged with poignancy for what was to happen to Berlin and all those boys.”

“The ‘old’ Germany!”

“Oh, the joy of scooters on tram tracks!”

“An early example of crowd funding”

“Dib, dib, dib – from a childish grown-up!”

“What a happy ending to a wonderful season.”

“An entertaining season’s ending”


A:18, B:21, C:3, D:1, E:0 to give 83%