Was Frauen träumen (1933) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
3 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
8/10
Lubitsch without Lubitsch
wmorrow5930 July 2014
If you were to watch a few scenes from this film with the sound off, you would see elegantly dressed, upper class people in swanky settings, sipping cocktails and exchanging meaningful looks. Next, you'd likely notice a pair of tubby, comic relief detectives who can't seem to do anything right. You would see some nicely composed shots, with occasional flashy effects using sharp perspective, and a close-up or two filmed through heavy cigarette smoke. You might well conclude that this film was made in Hollywood, perhaps at Paramount. It's not quite up to the quality level of an Ernst Lubitsch picture, but looks like it was made by filmmakers who admired the Lubitsch style.

Turn up the sound, however, and you'll find that the actors are speaking German. Was Frauen Träumen ("What women dream") was made in Berlin, and released shortly after Hitler came to power. But there's nothing about politics here; this is a light romantic comedy, not unlike Lubitsch's Trouble in Paradise, made the previous year. This one also concerns jewel thievery, committed by the sort of glamorous people who would look perfectly comfortable dining at the Yacht Club with the cream of society, smoothly exchanging quips—only to depart, late in the evening, with a satchel full of stolen goods.

The story concerns a nightclub singer named Rina (Nora Gregor), who compulsively steals jewelry from the finest shops. She's cool and smart, but even she can't figure out what's happening when a mysterious older gentleman begins trailing her. Every time she steals a gem, this gent arrives on the scene soon afterward and pays for it. (His motivation is not explained until late in the game.) Meanwhile, Rina is investigated by a pair of bumbling detectives (Peter Lorre and Otto Wallburg). Füssli, the cop played by Lorre, happens upon the clue that breaks the case: a glove that Rina left behind in a jewelry shop, which bears the aroma of a distinctive perfume. Füssli's young friend Koenig (Gustav Fröhlich) happens to work in a parfumerie, and recognizes the scent as a very expensive one called "What Women Dream." This leads the police—and Koenig—to Rina, but she eludes capture. A romance develops between the lady thief and the perfume dealer. She swears she'll reform, but then the older gentleman intervenes. He too is a thief, and admires the lady's technique. He wants her to team up with him, but she resists. Will Rina go straight? Or will those hapless cops finally catch up with her before she can make amends?

Several of the actors here are familiar from other, more widely seen films. Gustav Fröhlich is remembered for his performance as Freder in Fritz Lang's classic Metropolis, while Nora Gregor is best known for Jean Renoir's The Rules of the Game. Incidentally Miss Gregor is strikingly attractive, and looks elegant in every scene of this film, even when she's lounging about in the leading man's dressing gown. (Perhaps then in particular.) But needless to say, Peter Lorre is the most familiar player of all. He has a prominent featured role, and his spirited comic turn is something to savor. His detective Füssli distinguishes himself by repeatedly trapping himself in his own handcuffs, but his best scene comes when he sits at a piano at Koenig's apartment and jauntily sings a silly song about how cute policemen are, bobbing up and down to the rhythm as he accompanies himself. (Lorre's piano playing was obviously faked, but the singing voice is his own.) The punchline comes when Rina joins him in a duet, and deftly picks his pocket of several items before the number ends.

Was Frauen Träumen is quite enjoyable and well worth seeking out, but, as with all German productions from this period, no matter how light-hearted, there a dark undercurrent impossible to ignore. When watching German films of the early '30s I always wonder what became of the actors and crew members behind the scenes during the subsequent years. Sadly, the lives of Nora Gregor and Otto Wallburg, who were Jewish, ended too soon. Gregor managed to escape the Nazis but eventually died by her own hand, while Wallburg was detained, and later murdered at Auschwitz. Other personnel were more fortunate. Billy Wilder, who co-authored the screenplay, was surely the biggest success story to emerge from the project. He made it to America, wrote for Lubitsch and others, and subsequently became one of Hollywood's top directors.

This pleasant romantic comedy stands as an entertaining but poignant memento of its time and place, a souvenir of an elegant, classy world that, all too soon, would be destroyed.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
entertaining!
Homer-Jay9 November 2004
This early German comedy of the era of sound films has really aged well and remains surprisingly entertaining. It's a light comedy, probably made for the female audience, including some musical numbers (the title song "Der Weg zu dir" is repeated in various versions plus there is the song "Ja, die Polizei.." sung by Peter Lorre and Nora Gregor).

This is the plot:

In this pre-WWII German mystery-comedy, a lovely kleptomaniac with a taste for fine jewelry is unable to resist temptation. Strangely, every time she steals something, a mysterious man pays for it. A clumsy detective begins investigating and finds a crucial clue: a strongly scented woman's glove. The perfume is an expensive scent and the detective's pal realizes that it belongs to a popular nightclub singer. The friend quickly becomes enamored of the girl, but then so does her mystery man, a notorious international criminal. Eventually he gets arrested, leaving the detective's pal to move in on the singer.

The beginning is very promising, everything is put on in a very clever way... but to get to the big happy ending the film then tends to a more conventional romantic comedy plot. The kleptomaniac central character promises that she will end her criminal career for the man she truly loves. It is THAT easy to get rid of your addictions!

Anyway it is a film worth seeing, well done, with a lot of nice funny ideas and characters esp. Peter Lorre's part of Herr Fuessli.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Good romantic comedy
cynthiahost13 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Good Romantic comedy in the last years of the Wiemar. I don't know whether it was made late in 1932 released in the early part of 33,but,it was released in the beginning of the third Reich. Nora Gregor portrays Rina,She's a kleptomaniac. She has to steal diamonds and she gets by with it.A strange man,wealthy with car and Chauffeur,who's name is Levassor, who pretend to be John,keeps following her and pays the bill, for some reason.The police finds out and they start to investigate.Two bumbling cops,Kliensilber,played by tragic actor Otto Walburg and Peter Lorre ,slightly overweight,as Otto try,when one of her gloves are left in the shop.Gustav Frohlic,who plays Walter the son of the jewelry shop owner, finds out what she does and feel sorry for and takes her to his apartment for protection of the police and tries to reform her,but across from where he lives,two of the bumbling cops are suspicious and are spying on her.She's a singer at this theater and dance place.There are two numbers in this feature.The titles of this feature,which she sing herself in the night club.Then it's repeated by another singer,male singer.then There's another number that both Peter and Nora isn't together at the piano,a song about the police.This is later repeated by the chorus on the stage.Surprise it turned out that the Man ,who paid her bills, owns the gambling place and wants her to steal jewelry from the clients ,I think.With the help of Gustav,Levassor is caught and Peter becomes head chief.This musical was written by billy Wilder,corporate Hollywood ignores this aspect of his career.Even in a recent compile on d.v.d the company did not include any of his German films he wrote the screen plays for.But this is a good comedy and worth seeing,Available ,with subtitles at Germanwarfilms.com 01/13/13
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed