All Is at Stake

Original Title: Es geht um Alles. Sensational grotesque 1932; 77 min.; Director: Max Nosseck; Cast: Ernő Verebes, Claire Rommer, Willi Schur, Walter Steinbeck, Gustav Püttjer, Luciano Albertini, Domenico Gambino, Carl Auen, Eddie Polo; D. L. S.-Tobis-Klangfilm.

The partner of a magician disappears. The helpers of the advertising chief, two jealous colleagues, and the bailiff are all searching for her. The bailiff hopes to compensate himself with her fee for the obligations of her fiancé, who kidnapped her. One minute before twelve: happy ending.

The sensation of the Wintergarten is the magician Handy Bandy, who daily performs the disappearance of a virgin. This virgin is Jenny, the daughter of the wonderman, and his assistants are Frank and Eddy, both in love with Jenny and pursuing her with their love proposals.

One evening, the “virgin” is actually missing. Handy Bandy is desperate, the director is furious, and a big scandal erupts, which eventually leads to the director giving the magician an ultimatum: either the act works the next day or he will be fired.

Where is Jenny? She has left the variety show with her fiancé, the little artist Harry, to go to Hamburg and secretly marry him there. Her father is against this marriage, so the two young people had to resort to this trick to become husband and wife. Frank and Eddy suspect the connection, and they also have to bring Jenny back to the variety show by the next evening or they will be fired. Thus begins an exciting chase after the newlyweds, filled with various sensations and comedic complications. Someone else is also after the couple—the bailiff who wants to arrest Harry for skillfully avoiding the payment of his debts.

Finally, after overcoming the most impossible difficulties, the two become a couple. They rush back to Berlin and arrive just in time at the Wintergarten to stage the act with the disappearing virgin.

-g.’s review in Film Kurier No. 133 (June 8, 1932)
Director Max Nosseck excels once again in this film by highlighting small episodes. He molds the heads of the audience in the Wintergarten theater, he develops grotesque ideas in the Hamburg harbor district, and he has a good grasp of lively chases and pursuits. One is entertained throughout many passages.

Unfortunately, the commendable work of direction and performances is hindered by a script that should never have seen the light of day. The official author, a witty writer, has withdrawn his name. Regardless of how the original version looked, it should have been the responsibility of the production team to recognize the weaknesses of the screenplay.

The story revolves around half a dozen people chasing after the assistant of a magician performing at the Wintergarten, who has eloped to Hamburg to marry a young artist. 24 hours after her escape, Claire Rommer is back on the vaudeville stage, portraying the vanishing virgin. Claire Rommer carries herself with warm naturalness, overcoming the unevenness of her role, and her charm somewhat anchors the film.

Beside her stands Ernő Verebes, mercurial and cheerful. A great lineup of well-known sensational film actors is featured: Luciano Albertini, Dominico Gambino, and Eddie Polo. They perform acrobatics on the rooftops of Hamburg and execute an airplane stunt.

Gustav Püttjer finds success as a true-born Hamburger, while Willi Schur receives cheap laurels for his caricatured bailiff. Carl Auen’s likable face only appears for a few meters, unfortunately.

The vaudeville numbers depicted in the film deserve praise.

The technical aspects are unremarkable. Robert Neppach and Erwin Scharf were the set builders, W. R. Lach handled the cinematography, and Carlo Paganini provided the sound. The music was composed by Hans May.