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F.P.1 antwortet nicht

Germany 1932
produced by
Erich Pommer for UFA
directed by Karl Hartl
starring Hans Albers, Sybille Schmitz, Paul Hartmann, Peter Lorre, Hermann Spelmans, Werner Schott, Erik Ode, Georg John, Rudolf Platte, Phillip Manning
screenplay by Walter Reisch, Curt Siodmak, based on a novel by Curt Siodmak

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Anxious to get building the F.P.1 on the way, ace pilot Ellison (Hans Albers) will not even stop at breaking into the Lennartz company (a company that has shelved the plans for the F.P.1 years ago) as a publicity stunt.

The F.P.1 is essentially a giant floating platform in the middle of the atlantic, where passenger planes that cross the seas can land to refuel, thus enabling for the first time passenger flights across the Atlantic. & furthermore, the F.P.1 is constructed by Ellison's best friend Droste (Paul Hartmann).

& it not only works & the floating platform is built, Ellison even wins the affection of Claire Lennartz (Sybille Schmitz), sister of the company owners (Werner Schott, Erik Ode). But the night Allison wants to ask Claire to marry him, he gets the unbeatable offer to fly nonstop around the world instead (as the first man to achieve that), & he just ditches the girl ...

Meanwhile, in charge of building, Droste encounters certain irregularities, suspecting sabotage, & of all people only Claire seems to listen to him. Tender romance soon develops ...

2 years later, the F.P.1 got made despite all, & is launched to reach its final position in the middle of the ocean. Around the same time Ellison comes back, a brokn man who has not only not achieved his goal to fly around the world nonstop but also had heaps of bad luck every sep along the way, & has realized with Claire he has left behind the only thing he ever really wanted. He swears her that he will never fly again, but alas too late ...

On the F.P.1, Droste can finally unmask the saboteur, his trusted first officer Damsky (Hermann Speelmans), however Damsky shoots him down in cold blood - even though Claire & her brothers listen in on the radio - & abandons platform. Now the Lennartzs need a pilot who can reach the platform, unofficially of course, & put things back into order. & the only man who can do it is (you might have guessed it) Ellison, & the only woman who can persuade him to is (& this one, you will have guessed, right ?) Claire ...

But when Ellison & Claire try to land at the F.P.1, they are shot at by Damsky (which ultimately ruins the plane),& once aboard the platform they find the whole crew gassed (though most of them still alive), the flöoodgates of the platform are opened to slowly sink it & the much needed oil to close the floodgates again is gone.

It is only then that Ellison realizes Claire has flown with him to the platform only for Droste's sake, & while most of the crew abandon ship & the rest are traing to build a makeshift airplane to get help to keep the platform afloat (the radio has of course been wrecked, too), Ellison gets royally drunk, & only some words of reason by his trusted sidekick, photographer Johnny (Peter Lorre) can persuade Ellison to take it onto himself to make a scouting flight to the next ocean steamer to radio for help.

Ellison, despite being the hero of the day, realizes he has lost everything, & since he has nothing better to do, he goes condorhunting to Peru with the ship's crew ...

 

This film does actually fall into 2 parts: the first part is a romance vehicle, perfectly tailored to its leading man Hans Albers, who plays his typical role of rough-edged but good-hearted jack-of-all-trades-style adventurer, which made him the most popular German actor of pre-war- & wartime-cinema. This part is, while not all bad, essentially forgettable. It is only when Albers & Sybille Schmitz enter the F.P.1 to find a gassed crew, that the film suddenly boasts an eerie atmosphere & the narration gains momentum, & actually becomes a quite interesting piece of cinema.

Simulatnously with the German version of this movie, director Karl Hartl also direted an English language version (F.P.1 doesn't answer) & a version in French (I.F.1 ne répond plus), for the respective foreign markets, with Conrad Veidt & Charles Boyer in the lead, respectively. The 3 versions differ from one another quite considerably, despite the fact they were made in the same sets, & for large parts almost take-for-take remakes.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD