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Customer Review

on 29 May 2010
With Baron Münchhausen a teller of tall tales with the ability to deceive his listeners, it's only right and proper that Josef von Baky & Berthold Bürger's visually perfect 1943 film should try to do the same with the audience; and they succeed. The film commences with an ornate 18th Century birthday party in an elaborate German castle. The orchestra plays a minuet - or perhaps a gavotte - and the guests, in their powdered wigs and period costumes dance to it. One of the guests, Sophia von Riedesel (Marina von Ditmar) rather contemptuously ignores her fiancé, Freiherr von Hartenfeld (a suitably dopy Hans Brausewetter) and flirts with the host, Baron von Münchhausen (a super-smooth Hans Albers). But then she suddenly takes fright and asks the Baron to turn on the light; an electric light switch is pressed, the girl drives off at speed in a sports coupé and the orchestra crashes into a tango. The audience has been fooled; it is, of course, the present day and the Baron's story is later told to the engaged couple in flashback.

Back we go, to discover how, together with his faithful servant, Kuchenreutter, the Baron travels to Russia to be conscripted in to service of Katherine the Great (Brigette Horney), whilst en route meeting Count Cagliostro (a very sinister Ferdinand Marion) who provides him with the ability to attain both immortality and invisibility.

Being shot from a cannon, captured by a duplicitous Sultan, escaping with Princess Isabella D'Este (a beautiful Ilse Werner) only to lose her and then a journey to the moon before returning to Earth and meeting his future wife, very nicely underplayed by Käthe Haack, are a sample of the adventures enjoyed by the hopelessly untruthful Baron.

I first saw this film on BBC2, probably 25 years ago; it has remained one of my favourite films. I enjoyed my old video tape of it; but there is no comparison to that and this splendid restored and digitally remastered DVD.

An excellent film.
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