La Habanera

1937 [GERMAN]


Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


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720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
895.96 MB
German 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 37 min
P/S ...
1.62 GB
German 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 37 min
P/S 0 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer8 / 10

A pretty good film that really works well at the neat finale.

The pedigree for this film is very interesting. It's a German film that's set in Puerto Rico and stars a Swedish lady (Zarah Leander)! And, by the way, there's also almost no Spanish spoken in the entire film. Huh?! It's directed by the German, Douglas Sirk, a man who became famous for directing soapy films in America (such as "Magnificent Obsession") in the 1950s.

I was also surprised early in the film when they talked about bullfighting in Puerto Rico. But, after a bit of research I found that they really DID have bullfighting on the island long ago. Who'd have known? While visiting the island, Astree (Leander) meets a bullfighter and against her Aunt's advice, she marries the man and stays in Puerto Rico. Ten years pass--during which time no one hears from Astree. Then when an international medical team goes to Puerto Rico to treat a local fever epidemic, a couple doctors try to find her.

At this point, the film shifts back to Puerto Rico and to the married couple. Astree's husband is a virtual dictator in the home and keeps her prisoner in their fine home. He browbeats her and accuses her of infidelity--and it's obvious that he's abusive and insanely jealous. You also learn that the marriage has produced a son--a child who the father expects to follow in his shoes. And, the father will NOT allow the boy alone with the mother--lest she try to escape with him back to Sweden. In many ways, the film is reminiscent of the 1991 film "Not Without My Daughter"--though of course the settings are quite different.

It's pretty odd, as the wicked husband actually is doing everything he can to prevent doctors from identifying and treating the fever! So, when the two doctors investigating the illness are invited to Don Pedro's home, they are excited and they know he is Astree's husband--but they don't know what a dangerous scoundrel he is and that he will stop at nothing to stop their work! Nice guy, huh?! Well, it all comes together for a really cool and satisfying ending--something you'll just have to see for yourself. A very good and very unusual film.

By the way, on a depressing note, little Michael Schulz-Dornburg who played Astree's son served in the German military and was killed on the Russian Front at age 17. Also, if you are curious about the title, La Habanera is a slow Cuban dance similar to the Tango.

Reviewed by richard-17875 / 10

Early Nazi propaganda movie

This movie shows how good the Nazis had become at using standard popular fare to push their agendas. Not just obvious propaganda works, like The Triumph of the Will, but everyday, apparently apolitical fare that would be consumed by a large general public.

It is the apparently apolitical story of a Swedish woman who, enchanted by Puerto Rico during a vacation there, stays and gets married. Her marriage turns out to be failure, however, and she ends up going back to Sweden with a former Swedish beau. Thomas Mann with music (think Death in Venice).

Yet over and over this movie advances Nazi propaganda.

The Swedish doctor travels to Puerto Rico to find a cure for a deadly fever that recurs. Repeated mention is made that the American Rockefeller Institute had tried to find a cure but failed. The very Aryan Swede, who of course speaks German, does what the Americans could not.

The government officials on the island are incredibly corrupt and inhuman. They must be Americans, of course.

There are a few negative depictions of the Peurtoriqueños, but not many. I had the impression the movie was meant to convince the islands' residents that they were being exploited by the U.S. and would be better off under Aryan rule.

This movie isn't spell-binding, but it is well-directed, and Leander is beautiful to watch. Sort of a second-tier Marlene Dietrich/Greta Garbo. The Swedish doctor strikes me as very disagreeable; I assume he was supposed to look like a heart-throb, but his voice is high and his looks somehow unnatural.

Of potential interest to anyone interested in the use of art, especially cinema, for propaganda.

Reviewed by Bunuel19766 / 10

LA HABANERA (Douglas Sirk, 1937) ***

The earliest example of Douglas Sirk's filmography that I have seen is this German melodrama starring Swedish singing star Zarah Leander. Although hardly a major film when judged against his later, more renowned Hollywood output of the 1950s, at the same time it is just as well-crafted and visually polished a film as any he ever made. A Swedish tourist, vacationing in Puerto Rico with her stuffy elderly aunt, falls in love with its exotic ambiance and laid-back lifestyle and impulsively elopes with its leading citizen Don Pedro (Ferdinand Marian) while at the harbor. Cut to 10 years later and their marriage, which has bore them a son, is at the end of its tether; meanwhile, the resilient aunt decides to entrust an old friend of her niece's – called over there to investigate the outbreak of an epidemic fever – to bring her back home. Don Pedro tries his utmost to keep the real health situation in his community under wraps and this serves to add another layer of animosity towards the Swedish scientist. The titular anthem is heard in various forms throughout the film and, for whatever reason, Leander feels the need to belt it out in public as a farewell gesture to the land and man (who has eventually succumbed to the fever himself) that had captured her heart all those years ago.

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