Movie Review – ‘Emil and the Detectives’ (1964)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

Once again, my parents and I watched another film on Disney+ – the 1964 film adaptation of ‘Emil and the Detectives’, which is based on the book by the German author called Erich Kästner. 2021 is turning out to be a year of home cinema with Disney+ for me and my parents. Not that I mind that. 🙂

I’m really enjoying watching films on Disney+ lately as well as watching occasional films on Google Play and Amazon Prime Video. They fill in for the absence of watching films at cinemas, which I haven’t been able to do lately due to the Covid-19 pandemic – please keep safe. It has been very fulfilling.

The 1964 film of ‘Emil and the Detectives’ stars Walter Slezak and Bryan Russell, and it is directed by Peter Tewksbury. The film was apparently shot at the Templhof Studios in Berlin and on location around the city. There is a certain Enid Blyton/‘Famous Five’ atmosphere about this particular film. 🙂

The film focuses on 10-year old boy Emil (pronounced ‘Amil’ apparently) Tischbein who travels by bus from Neustadt to Berlin. He carries an envelope containing 400 marks (which was the currency used in Germany long ago) that his mother’s entrusted him to deliver to his grandmother in the tale.

I don’t think it’s a good idea to send a 10-year old boy unsupervised to see his grandmother when his mother isn’t there to accompany him. I wonder why the mother didn’t travel with him to begin with. Anyway, Emil falls asleep during the bus ride and he wakes up to find that the money has gone.

He is certain that the thief was a shifty man called Grundeis who was sitting next to him on the bus. Emil follows Grundeis to a Berlin café and he tries to summon a policeman to help him. The policeman doesn’t believe him however. By the way, the police must don different coloured clothes in Germany.

I say that because the policeman directing traffic wore white instead of blue when Emil approached him. I initially thought he was an ice cream man or a milkman. 😀 Grundeis meanwhile escapes to a rendezvous with the Baron, his underworld associate, and his trusty bullish henchman called Müller.

Emil soon meets Gustav, a street urchin who leads a group of child ‘detectives’. Together, Emil and the detectives track down Grundeis who’s plotting with the Baron and Müller to rob a large Berlin bank by tunnelling into its vault. Emil soon gets captured and he is forced to help in the criminal plot.

The cast are very good in this classic Disney film adaptation of ‘Emil and the Detectives’. Walter Slezak stars as the villainous Baron in the film whilst Bryan Russell plays the titular role of Emil Tischbein. There’s also Roger Mobley as Gutav, the street urchin and leader of the child ‘detectives’.

There’s also Heniz Schubert as Grundeis the thief and Peter Ehrich as Müller. There’s also Cindy Cassell as Pony, Emil’s cousin; Elsa Wagner as Grandma (who we only see one scene of in this film); Eva Ingeborg Scholz as Frau Tischbein, Emil’s mother, Wolfgang Völz as Wachtmeister Stucke, Brian Richardson as ‘the Professor’, Robert Swann as Hermann and there’s David Petrychka as Dienstag. 🙂

There are nice touches of comedy featured throughout the film as well as suspense and drama concerning the crime-solving featured throughout. I’m impressed with how the film kept my attention on what was going on, though I wonder if Emil ever got that 40 marks back from Grundeis.

‘Emil and the Detectives’ is a film definitely worth watching on Disney+. It’s amazing to discover these films that I wasn’t aware of before I became a Disney+ subscriber. My Mum certainly enjoyed this film as crime detective drama is her kind of thing and she’s keen on ‘The Famous Five’ stories. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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