One of the first gay-themed films in the history of cinema, Anders als die Andern / Different from the Others was banned at the time of its release, later burned by the Nazis and was believed lost for more than forty years. Using recently discovered film segments, still photos and censorship documents from different archives, Filmmuseum Muenchen has resurrected this truly groundbreaking silent film . Also included is the restoration of a short version of the film which Magnus Hirschfeld used for his anthology Gefahren der Liebe / Laws of Love as well as a documentation of the disputes with the German censorship. Additionly the second edition of this DVD offers for the first time original documents by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld and an unpublished letter exchange by Richard Orswald and Veit Harlan, the director of Anders als du und ich, as ROM features (only in German).
Anders als die Andern / Different from the Others - Germany 1919 - Directed by: Richard Oswald - Written by: Richard Oswald, Magnus Hirschfeld - Photographed by: Max Faßbender - Cast: Conrad Veidt, Reinhold Schünzel, Fritz Schulz, Anita Berber, Ernst Tittschau, Alexandra Wiellegh, Ilse von Tasso-Lind, Wilhelm Diegelmann, Magnus Hirschfeld, Karl Giese - Produced by: Richard Oswald Film-Produktion, Berlin - Premiere: May 28, 1919 (Berlin) - 2004 Reconstruction by: Filmmuseum München - Edited by: Stefan Drössler, Gerhard Ullmann, Klaus Volkmer - Composing and grading by: Christian Ketels - Music by: Joachim Bärenz - Sound recorded by: Gunther Bittmann, Ernst Schillert
Gesetze der Liebe: Schuldlos Geächtet! / Laws of Love: Innocently Outlawed! - Germany 1927 - Written and directed by: Magnus Hirschfeld - Photographed by: Max Faßbender - Cast: Conrad Veidt, Reinhold Schünzel, Fritz Schulz, Magnus Hirschfeld, Karl Giese - Produktion: Humboldt-Film GmbH, Berlin - Premiere: November 16, 1927 (Berlin) - 1999 Reconstruction by: Filmmuseum München - Edited by: Gerhard Ullmann, Klaus Volkmer - Music by: Bernt Schultheis, Ensemble Kontraste - Supervised by: Nina Goslar
Gefährliche Neigungen - Die Skandalgeschichte von "Anders als die andern"/ Dangerous Predispositions - The Scandal of "Different from the Others" - Germany 2000 - Written and directed by: Gerald Koll - Photographed and edited by: Gil Freudenreich - Produced by: KirchMedia, München - Premiere: February 10, 2000 (Arte TV)
About the films
Enacted in 1871, the German penal code's Paragraph 175 sentenced thousands of accused German homosexual men to jail terms for "unnatural vice between men." In 1919, director Richard Oswald and psychologist Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld created a film intended to expose the unjust Paragraph 175 and help liberate the "third sex" from legal persecution and public scorn. Different From the Others casts Conrad Veidt as Paul Körner, a gay concert pianist blackmailed by a closeted low-life named Bollek. When Körner's budding romance with a handsome young music student runs afoul of Bollek's extortion, Körner goes to the German courts for protection. But the draconian Paragraph 175 makes criminals out of both accuser and accused, and the love Körner has found costs him his career and his freedom.Conrad Veidt's uncompromising performance (the same year as his legendary portrayal of Cesar the somnambulist in Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari) places a human face on Hirschfeld's reformist fervor and Oswald's tragic melodrama. In its frank depiction of gay bars, closeted homosexuality, and the suffocating expectations of straight society, Different From the Others is both a fascinating time capsule and a remarkably modern cinematic plea for tolerance and change.Part of the film's impact also came from this outstanding new restoration. Unlike some restored DVDs, which look unreal in their new-found digital perfection, some minor scratches have been retained. What we see probably looks like what audiences saw in the original theatrical run of 1919, tiny imperfections and all. Although many of the major dramatic scenes are intact, the intertitles and archival still photos summarizing missing footage is a stark reminder of the power of censorship.Oddly, one reason I found the film so involving was because of its strange hybrid form. It forced me to experience the work simultaneously as a film, which I could watch, and as something like a novel. For the missing scenes, we have to read the intertitles and instantly imagine what has been lost. That was surprisingly easy to do because the lead actors' performances and the director's visual style were both strong and consistent. The superb musical score also helped keep the entire film flowing, unifying the transitions from full scenes to summarized ones. Obviously, seeing the complete film would be optimal - but it no longer exists; and Stefan Drössler of the Filmmuseum München has done the best possible job in making all of the disparate surviving elements work together. I hope you will not be put off by the mixed form of this film; this is a work of enormous historical importance but also of real emotional power.
Although some viewers might dismiss the picture as "gay propaganda," I was impressed by the heartfelt passion of Oswald and Hirschfeld - not only for their (admittedly didactic) theme but for bringing their characters to life, with the aid of an exceptional cast. They originally conceived this film as an exposé of the injustices of Paragraph 175, and to help liberate the "third sex" from legalized persecution and public scorn, but they achieved something more. Perhaps their success in humanizing what was to most people a rarely-mentioned "social problem" is what made this film especially threatening to the Nazis.
- Anders als die Andern 1919, 51'
- Different from the others 1919, 51'
- Piano score by Joachim Bärenz
- Gesetze der Liebe: Schuldlos geächtet! 1927, 40'
- Music score by Bernd Schultheis
- Gefährliche Neigungen - Die Skandalgeschichte von "Anders als die andern" 2000, 7'
- New at the second edition: Original documents by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld and a letter exchange between Richard Orwald and Veit Harlan, the director of Anders als du und ich as ROM features (only in German).
DVD edited by: Filmmuseum München, Goethe-Institut München
DVD authoring: Ralph Schermbach
DVD supervision: Stefan Drössler
First edition September 2006, Enlarged second edition July 2007, Third edition January 2011