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Poll: Erich, Emil, and Everyone Else

Erich Kästner was an author of remarkable versatility. During the Third Reich, his sharp satirical books and poems were banned and burned, but even the Nazis did not dare to touch Kästner's children's classics. Today, he remains one of the most popular authors in Germany.

A large number of his works were filmed, some of them in foreign countries. Which Erich Kästner story would you most like to (re)discover, be it by reading the book, seeing one of its adaptations, or both?

Discuss here

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Emil und die Detektive (1931)

    On the train to Berlin to visit his relatives, young Emil is robbed by a shady man. Ashamed and distrustful of adults, Emil rounds up fellow children to find the thief in the urban jungle.

    Written in 1929.

    Also adapted in 1935, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1964, and 2001.

  2. Vote!

    The Parent Trap (1961)

    In a summer camp, two girls unknown to each other have wildly different tempers, but look exactly the same. They soon find out that they are indeed twins. The two change places and attempt to reconcile their divorced parents.

    The book's title is "Das doppelte Lottchen" (1949), or "Doubly Lotte". It was filmed many times, including in 1950, 1953, 1995 (as "It Takes Two"), and 1998 (again as "The Parent Trap").

  3. Vote!

    Flying Classroom (1954)

    The adventures and worries of five greatly divergent students, a teacher and a friendly guy who lives in an old rail waggon. A book (1933) about life in a boarding school, an epic snowball war, camaraderie, as well as also individual troubles.

    Filmed again in 1973 and 2003.

  4. Vote!

    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1943)

    The life of Baron Münchhausen, who told tall tales about himself, such as allegedly saving himself from a swamp by pulling on his own hair.

    (Kästner wrote the screenplay for the film)

  5. Vote!

    Fabian (1980)

    Fabian blunders through early 1930's Berlin. He sees himself as too idealistic for a world that is ruled by corruption and commercialization. He feels that war is imminent and awaits the destruction of Europe (the book was written in 1931).
  6. Vote!

    Paradise for Three (1938)

    An millionaire who is a little out of touch with reality dresses up as a poor fellow. He stays in a grand hotel "after winning a prize contest" and mingles with its residents to see how they would treat him.

    Written in 1934 as "Three Men in the Snow" and also filmed in 1935, 1936, again in 1936, 1955, and 1974.

  7. Vote!

    Die Konferenz der Tiere (1969)

    This book (1949) is explicitly political and intended both for children and grownups. Animals convene to discuss how to deal with the various problems caused by humans, such as war, excessive bureaucracy, and environmental destruction.

    Also filmed in 2010.

  8. Vote!

    Annaluise & Anton (1999)

    Pünktchen's parents are well-off, but they neglect her and trust a dubious nanny to take care of her. When she meets working-class child Anton, they team up to better both their lives.

    Written in 1931. Also filmed in 1953.

  9. Vote!

    Frau nach Maß (1940)

    Or, "Woman Made to Measure Man". A theater director, who strictly separates his artistic endeavours from his private life, is much distressed to find out that his fiancée is secretly aspiring to be an actress.
  10. Vote!

    Der kleine Grenzverkehr (1943)

    Or, "The Little Border Traffic". In 1937, a German man visits his Austrian friend. Because of exchange regulations, he is only allowed to bring 10 marks, which he foolishly spends on the very first day. His endeavours to make ends meet lead to amusing as well as amorous encounters.

    Filmed again in 1957.

  11. Vote!

    Die verschwundene Miniatur (1954)

    A naive butcher from Berlin vacations in Copenhagen. When a young woman asks him to take a miniature with him on the way back, he gladly complies, not realizing it's a precious object of art much sought after by a gang of thieves.

    Filmed again in 1989.

  12. Vote!

    Liebe will gelernt sein (1963)

    A mother is worried that her son, a studious medical student, will end up without a girl at his side. She asks him to live with his philandering uncle, who throws himself into the task of pairing his nephew off... who has secretly had a girlfriend for four years.

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