DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

SINGING RINGING TREE, THE (DAS SINGENDE, KLINGENDE BAUMCHEN) (director/writer: Francesco Stefani; screenwriters: Anne Geelhaer/story from the Grimm Brothers; cinematographers: Walter Rosskopf/Karl Plintzner; editor:  Christa Wernicke; music:  H-F Heddenhausen; cast:  Charles-Hans Vogt (King), Eckart Dux (Prince), Christel Bodenstein (Princess), Richard Kruger (Dwarf), Fredy Barten (Minister); Runtime: 74; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Alexander Lösche; First Run Features; 1957-East Germany-in German with an English narration)

"The simplistic children's moral tale somehow delves into the dark recesses of the subconscious, and has gorgeous bright colored set designs to feast on."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A smart adaptation by director-cowriter Francesco Stefani' ("Max and Moritz") and the writer Anne Geelhaer, of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. A rare chance to see a film from East Germany that measures up to western standards.

The handsome Prince (Eckart Dux) journeys a long way to ask a beautiful Princess (Christel Bodenstein) to marry him. But the spoiled haughty Princess, who her loving father, the king (Charles-Hans Vogt), can't say no to, rejects the Prince unless he can give her a magical singing ringing tree, which will dispel all evil. In an enchanted garden owned by a wicked Dwarf (Richard Kruger), the Prince finds the scraggy-looking tree, and is told by the Dwarf he can have the tree on the condition the tree sings when he presents it to the Princess, but if it doesn't by nightfall the Prince will turn into a Bear and be his captive. When the self-centered Princess fails to show him love and the tree fails to sing, the curse is carried out. But the gentle Bear shrewdly gets the Princess to follow him to the enchanted garden where she's deprived of her beauty and her regal power, and while the Dwarf creates mischief  the Princess is lured into making friends with the animals by doing good deeds for them. After befriending the animals and promising never to treat them badly again, the humanized Princess soon falls in love with the Bear. This leads to a happy ending, whereby the curse is removed when the tree sings and the now recognizable Prince and once again beautiful Princess get married.

The simplistic children's moral tale somehow delves into the dark recesses of the subconscious, and has gorgeous bright colored set designs to feast on.

REVIEWED ON 12/23/2013       GRADE: B+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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