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Munchhausen [1943] [DVD]

23 customer reviews

Price: £4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Munchhausen [1943] [DVD] + The Adventures of Baron Munchausen [DVD] [1988] [2011] + Time Bandits DVD
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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Eureka Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Aug. 2003
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000A1M5T
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,072 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Set in eighteenth century Venice, Munchhausen tells the story of the Baron von Munchhausen and his extravagant adventures. This film was commissioned by Joseph Goebbels at a time when Nazism was at its peak. Designed as a morale booster for the German people as well as to demonstrate the artistic power of the Third Reich to the world, Munchhausen is a production on an enormous scale.

From Amazon.co.uk

Enjoying the dubious billing of being the Third Reich's "finest fictional moment", Münchhausen lives up to the hype. Commissioned by propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels to mark the 25th anniversary of the UFA film studio in 1943, director Josef von Baky was given every incentive artistic, technical and financial to create a state-of-the-art film outflanking Hollywood--and, in most respects, he succeeded. Hans Albers is understatedly right as the buccaneer aristocrat, his adventures over the centuries made possible by preternatural longevity. Hermann Speelmans gives sterling support as loyal manservant Kuchenreutter, while Brigitte Horney has appealing decadence as Catherine the Great. The spectacular Venice canal sequence and whimsical moon episode are balanced by strong scriptwriting from "Berthold Bürger" (Erich Kästner of Emil and the Detectives fame), with Georg Haentzschel's lushly eclectic score scarcely inferior to those by his more famous Hollywood counterparts. A tendency to send-up non-German nationalities hints at Nazi ideology, but otherwise this is pure--though never soulless--escapism, produced to the highest artistic standards.

On the DVD: Münchhausen on disc is presented in a restored print which recaptures the original's breathtaking interplay of colour, and the soundtrack has been very adequately cleaned up. Just eight access points and subtitles in English only, but a photo gallery of over 100 stills and memorabilia to chart the course of the film in detail. R Dixon Smith's insightful documentary feature gives the lowdown on why the film was made. All the more remarkable, then, that it's survived the vicissitudes of its era so handsomely. --Richard Whitehouse

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Drew on 21 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD
I have had the DVD of Munchhausen since 2003 and must have watched it 50 times.

The film was released in 1943, and was financed by Goebbels no less. The connection with the Nazis ends there - this is an accomplished re-telling of the Munchhhausen tale, even now.

This particular version was digitally remastered in Australia. The original Agfa colour process, if you don't know about these things, gave pastel colours, so the colouring is not quite what you might expect from a colour film, things look more like a childrens fairy tale book at times. The sound is excellent.

I won't bore you with the plot. Suffice to say it's a re-working of the well known liar Barons outrageous exaggerations using 1942/3 special effects which it has to be said, are very clever, and done with great intelligence.

The music score throughout is similarly truly excellent, and a real asset to the film without doubt.

There is a curious air of melancholy present throughout the film as others have mentioned. Although the Baron himself reaches this condition late in the film as he realises he wishes to renounce the gift of eternal life bestowed on him by the sinister Cagliostro, the feeling is present almost throughout. I'll leave you to your own conclusions. No doubt Nazi Germany figures pretty highly in the analysis...

Munchhausen is a film that stands apart. Witty, technically very clever, musically superb, wordly, imaginative, excellent acting and characterisation, but ultimately rather sad. But always entertaining and highly memorable.

Footnote: Cagliostro, the aforementioned magician in Munchhuasen is played by Ferdinand Marian who was the central character in another film made at the behest of Goebbels, the infamous antisemitic 'Jew Suss'(1940).

Munchhausen is well worth the 4 quid.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Bolton on 26 Aug. 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ask me my favourite film and without hestitation I would respond "Munchhausen" which is supprising given my little command of the German language. But I have always believed that the visual should always out-weigh the language.
To now see this on DVD is akin to the discovery of the Holy Grail and from an unexpected source. But when one considers the rest of Eureka's catalogue one should not be too supprised.
Having seen the previous restoration (from which I believe this print is taken) on German Tv several years ago it has taken the digital age to improve on that and by some. I can also remember a much earler screening on BBC2 - a very grainy print indeed. Now we can experience what the film would have looked like in 1943 when colour film, in Germany atleast, was in it's infancy.
I cannot fault the main feature in any way. The running length at 110 mins is identical to the previously mentioned tv version and a great improvement on the German VHS release which only run for 101 mins - I can not compare the two as I binned this many years ago in disgust and this release bore the name Ufa which had little connection to the original production company.
The extras unfortunatley for me do not add much and I would believe that most people who would buy this already know the background to the film. The main extra is a spoken essay which leaves more questions than it answers. It quotes the various running lengths of the film ranging from 2hrs 30 down to 90 mins
but makes no effort to explain what is missing. For me this essay could, and should, have been in printed form as a booklet.
Too much time is wasted on the various book versions of the
Liar Baron.
But I did not buy this for the extras . The film itself and the excellent digital restoration deserve a full 5 from me.
This is one DVD which will not suffer the 'view once' fate
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 July 2007
Format: DVD
Is it possible to love a gorgeous painting if you know the painter is a drunk, a thief, a scoundrel and a hypocrite? I'd say yes. We all have many faults we can learn to live with. But what if you know the painter sexually abuses children, tortures small animals or is addicted to publicly humiliating the old and the disabled. I could still appreciate the power and the skill behind the painting, but I wouldn't want it hanging in my home. I couldn't look at it without being reminded of the kind of person who produced it.

I feel that way toward Munchhausen, a gorgeous, witty and, at times, ironic fantasy...which was commissioned by Josef Goebbels in late 1941, filmed in 1942 and released in early 1943. No matter how excellent the film is -- and it is in many ways an excellent film -- for me it has the smell of the death camps about it. Goebbels wanted a huge extravaganza of a film for two reasons. Ostensibly, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of UFI, the famous German film company which by then was under the control of Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda. Goebbels really wanted a major full-color film which would demonstrate the glories of German -- read Nazi -- culture and technical artistry, one which would surpass films like The Thief of Bagdad and The Wizard of Oz. He settled on the story of Baron Munchhausen, gave the producers an unlimited budget, approved the hiring of a gifted screenwriter whose works he had banned and whose books he had burned, and saw to it that leading actors and actresses took part. Goebbels was given a hit by the moviemakers. When it was released he had already made his famous speech about all-out war now being essential. Bombing attacks on Germany were happening with regularity. The Wehrmacht was being ground into hamburger at the outskirts of Stalingrad.
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