Annemarie, the Bride of the Company

Original Title: Annemarie, die Braut der Kompagnie. (Die Braut für alle.) Military farce 1932; 84 min.; Director: Carl Boese; Cast: Lucie Englisch, Paul Hörbiger, Paul Heidemann, Albert Paulig, Walter Schlott, Rudolf Schündler, Albert Lieven, Hugo Fischer-Köppe, Gudrun Ady, Gertrud Wolle, Ilse Nast; Althoff-Tobis-Klangfilm.

Annemarie, a mistreated servant of a boarding school, believes she is loved by a musketeer. However, the musketeer only used her as an excuse to deliver a letter from his ensign to one of the students. Now, the scorned waitress finds solace in a nearby pub and wins back her soldier’s affection.

Miss von Rabenau, the strict headmistress of a girls’ boarding school, is disturbed by the proximity of a nearby barracks where the soldiers frequently sing a song with strong language. Margot Domke, a young girl who is in love with Werner von Schumann, recently promoted to ensign, is also a resident of the boarding school. To keep their secret relationship hidden from the headmistress, Werner enlists the help of musketeer Karl Lehmann to engage with Annemarie, a school employee who will watch over Margot.

Although Lehmann has no genuine interest in Annemarie, he pretends to be in love with her. One night, he is caught by the headmistress while attempting to deliver a message from Werner to Margot. To cover his tracks, he claims that his visit is intended for Annemarie. Annemarie, now falling in love with Lehmann, openly confesses her feelings to him, leading to her dismissal from her job. It doesn’t take long for Annemarie to realize that Lehmann doesn’t share her affections and even denies knowing her. Learning the true motives behind their acquaintance, she decides to seek revenge. Taking up a job as a waitress at the soldiers’ frequented pub, she sets her plan in motion.

Lehmann is taken aback when he encounters the well-presented Annemarie at the pub. He finds himself falling in love with her, but she wants nothing to do with him. Being friendly with the soldiers, Annemarie deliberately provokes a fight that captures the attention of the officers. The following day, they visit the pub to investigate the disturbance. Filled with jealousy, Lehmann watches from a hiding spot as Werner engages in playful banter with Annemarie. Adding to the chaos, the headmistress and Margot also arrive, causing the friendships to crumble. However, during a grand military parade at Tempelhof Field, everyone reunites, reflects on their actions, and ultimately reconciles.

-s.’ review in Film Kurier No. 270 (November 8, 1932)
In this military farce, everything you would expect is present: the barracks’ courtyard humor with the stern Sergeant Hugo Fischer-Köppe, the household chores turning into bed activities. The recruits undergo drilling in the courtyard, while beer steins are joyfully shattered in the pub. What more could you ask for? Moreover, the resourceful writers B. E. Lüthge and Karl Noti deliver a hilarious parody of women in uniform. An entire girls’ boarding school marches in, chanting “fi donc un homme,” led by the strict headmistress portrayed by Gertrud Wolle with grim humor, and featuring Lucie Englisch as the unattractive teacher.

Lucie Englisch, with her hair tightly coiled in a determined bun around her round face, dons period costumes. With her sweet voice, she initially portrays a virtuous woman walking the path of righteousness until Hörbiger, as Musketeer Lehmann, entices her off course. Thus, the previously righteous woman swiftly transforms into a charming, cheerful, and flirtatious waitress, as the song intends, becoming the desired bride of the entire company.

Hörbiger delivers a role that blends mischief and foolishness without going overboard, all executed with subtle Viennese humor. Alongside them, we have the senior officers: the dashing Albert Paulig and his Lieutenant Paul Heidemann. Adding to the mix of characters, we have the romantic couple portrayed by Gudrun Ady, a new actress, and Fritz Albert Lieben.

Carl Boese understands his audience well, and with the assistance of his cameraman Hameister and the architect Herrmann, he fully exploits the crude comedic situations in the barracks’ courtyard, the often unappetizing jokes, and the orderly rows of beds in the boarding school. To conclude on a happy note for those nostalgic souls, a grand parade from the good old days is inserted, complete with gala carriages and the grandeur of peace uniforms.