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Er kann's nicht lassen

West Germany 1962
produced by
Utz Utermann, Claus Hardt (executive) for Bavaria
directed by Axel von Ambesser
starring Heinz Rühmann, Rudolf Forster, Grit Böettcher, Ruth-Maria Kubitschek, Seigfried Wischnewski, Lina Carstens, Horst Tappert, Peter Ehrlich, Rainer Penkert, Emmerich Schrenk, Otto Schmöle, E.O. Fuhrmann, Uli Steigberg, Paul Glawion, Hans-Dieter Jendreyko, Peter Parten
screenplay by Carl Merz, Egon Eis, based on characters created by G.K.Chesterton, music by Martin Böttcher

Father Brown, Father Brown (Heinz Rühmann)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For all his crime-solving shenanigans on mainland Ireland, Father Brown (Heinz Rühmann) ahs been relocated to a far-off island populated by cutthroats and smugglers - where he finds a priceless painting that is soon stolen again, but for a man of Brown's crime-solving abilities it's no big deal to track down the thieves, a certain O'Leary and his gang, retrieve the painting - but let them off scot-free after they make their confessions in church.

The bishop (Rudolf Forster) is anything but pleased about the publicity Father Brown gets for this whole affair and relocates him to a rich and peaceful community ... where soon enough another murder occurs, the dead being a rich land- and castleowner. Brown tries to stay out of it and calls Scotland Yard inspecor O'Connally (Siegfried Wischnewski) for assistance, but the policeman is way too quick to suspect heiress Berenice (Grit Boettcher) and her fiancé Bruce,a nd actual evidence against Bruce soon turns up ... but Father Brown does his best to keep him out of harm's way and instead investigates the disappearance of the dead man's housekeeper Ms Holland (Ruth Maria Kubitschek) - and soon he picks up her trail leading to a nightclub that belongs to exactly the O'Leary who has stolen the painting at the beginning of the film. Turns out that O'Leary and his gang are into drug smuggling these days, and Ms Holland (actually Mrs Simpson) and her husband (Horst Tappert) have thrown in with them and offered them assistance in return for a few murders - because you know, Ms Holland would be the next in line after Berenice to inherit the land and castle of the dead man, though nobody is aware of her real identity yet. The baddies are quick to lock up Father Brown and even try to poison him, but Brown still has an ace or two up his sleeve, and after he makes a daring escape on motorbike, he has all the villains arrested for speeding within city limits - with more to come of course ...

 

On the plus side, this film is better than Heinz Rühmann's first appearance as Father Brown, Das schwarze Schaf (1960), especially since this time around, Rühmann proves to be much more capable to make the role his own and relies much less on remotely funny trademark-oneliners. That all said, Er kann's nicht lassen is still far from a perfect movie, its set up (the story about the stolen painting) takes up way too much time (about one third of the movie), its plot is somewhat childish and unnecessarily convoluted at the same time, its funny characters are incredibly unfunny (while Rühmann in the lead comes off as rather amusing), the chase that makes up the finale of the film is too obviously done by way of back projection to remain exciting, and way too little is made of the sometimes impressive sceneries the film is set in. Not a total loss, but by no means a must-see either.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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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