The Angel with the Trumpet
Der Engel mit der Posaune, Austrian bw drama, 1948, dir: Karl Hartl, Language: German, Subtitles: Hungarian, English, 138’
Directed by Karl Hartl
Screenplay by Karl Hartl, Franz Tassié
Director of photography: Günther Anders
Music by Willy Schmidt-Genther, José Padilla
Cast: Paula Wessely, Helene Thimig, Hedwig Bleibtreu, Alma Seidler, Maria Schell
An angel blowing a trumpet decorates the gateway to the Alt house in Vienna. If we are talking of Vienna, then naturally we are talking about music: the grand salon is named after Mozart and the trumpeting angel house is pervaded with the sense that this place is that of a music-loving, instrument-making family. Prior to the outbreak of the First World War, the Alt firm celebrates its 150th anniversary with a brilliant piano concert. At the same time, in this film spanning a generation the accompanying music for the momentous dramatic scenes, for example, the farewell of Henrietta, heroine at the centre of the story, is Gypsy music. This monumental work akin to a family saga brings back that never-existing world that Krúdy dreamed up in the most beautiful way: misty dawns, duels, heroic characters, snowy nights, New Year’s celebrations, the golden age of Franz Joseph who also appears in the film. But things do not stop here: based on the novel by Ernst Lothar, the story of the family in the Second World War is no longer the story of good and bad siblings, of personal errors, but instead of historical traumas. The rise and fall of the Alt house is at the same time a chronicle of a city, Vienna.