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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.