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Der Mann, der seinen Mörder sucht

Looking for his Murderer
Jim, der Mann mit der Narbe

Germany 1931
produced by
Erich Pommer for UFA
directed by Robert Siodmak
starring Heinz Rühmann, Lien Deyers, Raimund Janitschek, Hans Leibelt, Hermann Speelmans, Frederick Hollander, Gerhard Bienert, Franz Fiedler, Eberhard Mack, Erik Schuetz, Roland Varno, Wolfgang Waltershausen
screenplay by Ludwig Hirschfeld, Curt Siodmak, Billy Wilder, based on a play by Ernst Neubach, music by Frederick Hollander, musical direction by Franz Waxman

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Hans Herfort (Heinz Rühmann) wants to kill himself, but he just lacks the courage. So he hires Kuttlapp (Raimund Janitschek), a cat burglar who just happened to pass by, to do the job for him. But somehow, Kuttlapp doesn't have the nerve to do the job right away, and he persuades Herfort to go out one last time, to not pass away all gloomy. In the meantime, Kuttlapp thinks up an array of deathtraps for Herfort, which all fail.

On his last night out though, Herfort meets Kitty (Lien Deyers), with whom he falls in love, and she with him as well, and until the morning, she has persuaded him to quit the deal with Kuttlapp and stay alive. But when Herfort has finally managed to get hold of Kuttlapp, he has to learn that Kuttlapp has already sold the contract on him to top contract killer Jim, the man with the scar (Hermann Speelmans).

In his desperation, Herfort has himself thrown into jail, as he figures that's the only place not even a contract killer can get him, but fate has it that he is thrown into a cell with his own killer, Jim, and Jim is already preparing his jailbreak, since he has a contract to fulfill. And since he doesn't need anybody who squeals, Jim takes Herfort with him when he breaks out, ignorant that he is really his prospected victim.

Soon Jim has positioned himself on the roof opposite Herfort's appartment, where he and Herfort see Kitty with another man - in fact a man from the insurance company, who is supposed to buy the contract on Herfort from Jim. But Herfort of course thinks Kitty is cheating on him and discloses his identity to Jim, but asks him to not kill him until he has beaten up whom he believes to be Kitty's lover, to which Jim agrees.

Eventually, all this leads to a lot of chaos, at the climax of which Herfort's appartment is blown up, but in the end Jim agrees to cancel his appointment, and Herfort and Kitty will live happily ever after.

 

If you think this story sounds funny, I fully agree with you, it has the potential to a full-fledged black comedy, with some slapstick thrown in just for good measure. The resulting film however never succeeds to exploit the whole potential of the story, in parts because lead Heinz Rühmann's image as German Mister Clean seriously undermines his role, and Lien Deyers seriously lacks talent for comedy, and in part because the whole cast as well as the screenplay are way too square to really bring the macabre aspects of the story to life. Pity, this one could have been so much more.

 

PS: Nowadays, this film seems to no longer exist in its entirety (with a running time of roughly 1 1/2 hours), only a cut-down 52 minute version has survived to this day.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
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
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

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