One of the first gay-themed films in the history of cinema, Anders als die Andern / Different from the Others (1919) was banned at the time of its release and was believed lost. Using recently discovered film segments, still photos and censorship documents from different archives, Filmmuseum München has resurrected this truly groundbreaking silent film. The 2-disc DVD also offers a new restoration of the anthology Gefahren der Liebe / Laws of Love (1927) for which Hirschfeld himself re-edited a short version of Anders als die Andern, as well as Geschlecht in Fesseln / Sex in Chains (1928), a feature film about the sexual hardships of prisoners which was promoted by Hirschfeld.
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
Gefährliche Neigungen - Die Skandalgeschichte von "Anders als die andern"/ Dangerous Predispositions - The Scandal of "Different from the Others" - Germany 2000 - Directed and written by: Gerald Koll - Photographed and edited by: Gil Freudenreich - Produced by: KirchMedia, München - Premiere: February 10, 2000 (Arte TV)
Gesetze der Liebe. Aus dem Tagebuch eines Sexualwissenschaftlers / Laws of Love - Germany 1927 - Directed and written by: Magnus Hirschfeld - Mitarbeit / Scientific collaborators: Professor Dr. Köhler, Dr. Hermann Beck - Cast: Conrad Veidt, Reinhold Schünzel, Fritz Schulz, Magnus Hirschfeld - Produced by: Humboldt-Film GmbH, Berlin - Premiere: November 16, 1927, Berlin (Beba-Palast Atrium) - 2019 Rekonstruction: Filmmuseum München - Edited by: Stefan Drössler - Music: Günter A. Buchwald - Sound recording: Gunther Bittmann
Geschlecht in Fesseln / Sex in Chains - Germany 1928 - Directed by: Wilhelm Dieterle - Written by: Herbert Juttke, Georg C. Klaren - Photographed by: Walter Robert Lach - Cast: Wilhelm Dieterle, Mary Johnson, Gunnar Tolnæs, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski, Paul Henkels, Carl Goetz, Friedrich Kurth, Arthur Duarte, Gerd Briese, Hugo Werner-Kahle, Anton Pointer - Produced by: Essem-Film Prod. GmbH - Premiere: October 24, 1928, Berlin (Tauentzien-Palast) - 2020 Reconstruktion: Filmmuseum München - Edited by: Stefan Drössler - Image restoration: Thomas Bakels - Music: Joachim Bärenz - Sound recording: Gunther Bittmann, Ernst Schillert
About Different than the Others
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, 52'
- Piano score by Joachim Bärenz
- Gesetze der Liebe. Aus dem Tagebuch eines Sexualwissenschaftlers 1927, 101'
- Music score by Günter A. Buchwald
- Gefährliche Neigungen - Die Skandalgeschichte von "Anders als die andern" 2000, 7'
- Different from the others 1919, 52'
- Piano score by Joachim Bärenz
- Geschlecht in Fesseln 1928, 108'
- Klavierbegleitung von Joachim Bärenz
- 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).
- 16 pages Booklet with documents and essays by Stefan Drössler
DVD edited by: Filmmuseum München, Goethe-Institut München
DVD authoring: Tobias Dressel, Gunther Bittmann
DVD supervision: Stefan Drössler
irst edition September 2006, Extended second edition July 2007, Third edition January 2011, Expanded fourth edition January 2022