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When Erich Engel (1891–1966) made his first DEFA film AFFAIRE BLUM (1948), he was already renowned and respected for numerous theater productions of Bertolt Brecht’s plays in particular and for UFA films featuring stars such as Jenny Jugo and Rudolf Forster. AFFAIRE BLUM asks about the conditions that gave rise to National Socialism and uses the real case of a 1925 murder as orientation: The crook Gabler accuses the Jewish factory owner Blum of murder. The case seems clear: Only Blum could have committed the crime. This was the screen debut of the main actor Hans Christian Blech. The film adaptation of Gerhart Hauptmann’s eponymous ‘thief’s comedy’ DER BIBERPELZ (The Beaver Coat, 1949) tries to make transparent the inherent political criticism for the present. Engel was able to secure excellent comedians such as Fita Benkhoff, Werner Hinz, Erwin Geschonneck, Edith Hancke and Friedrich Gnass. (pz) (4.3.)

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