Original Title: Paprika. Comedy of errors 1932; 93 min.; Director: Carl Boese; Cast: Franciska Gaal, Paul Hörbiger, Paul Heidemann, Frigga Braut, Hugo Fischer-Köppe, Carl Walther Meyer, Hermann Picha; Itala-Universal-Tobis-Klangfilm.

A wealthy Hungarian woman meets a man at a ball but loses touch. She discovers he’s her friend’s unmarried brother-in-law in Berlin. Despite his work-focused approach, she develops feelings for him and disguises herself as a maid. Misunderstandings arise when the household butler mistakenly believes she’s his daughter. Eventually, the truth is revealed, and the man admits his genuine love for her.

“But how did you manage to do it?” Otti asked in admiration as her friend Ilona triumphantly revealed that Otti’s brother-in-law, Dr. Paul Schröder, a confirmed bachelor, wanted to go out with her that night. Ilona happily exclaimed, “Well, you see, Ottika, that’s just the paprika!” Otti shook her head and remarked, “That must be a strange metaphor!”

However, this paprika was a devilish thing, not the plant that provided the popular spice in Ilona’s homeland but rather a symbol of the temperament of the beautiful young Hungarian woman, Ilona von Takacs.

This fiery Hungarian girl, with paprika in her blood, had met a charming young man at a ball three years ago and fallen deeply in love with him, only to lose contact thereafter. Now, she had come to Berlin to visit her friend Otti from her parents’ estate in Hungary, and to her immense joy, she discovered that the beloved Dr. Schröder was Otti’s unmarried brother-in-law.

However, the situation was far from simple. Paul, who devoted his life to science, avoided romantic entanglements, fearing that marriage would hinder his work. But Ilona remained undeterred by such obstacles. Disguised as Otti’s maid, responsible for caring for Paul’s bachelor pad as well, she gained easy access to his residence. Her cunningly orchestrated intrigue, fueled by her love for Paul, allowed her to hold all the strings in her small hand, becoming the mistress of the situation.

One of those strings was Dr. Max Schröder, Paul’s brother and Otti’s husband, who became captivated and manipulated by Ilona’s crafty maneuvers, inspired by her love for Paul. Despite his happy marriage to Otti, Max occasionally succumbed to extramarital affairs. Paul himself became intrigued by the alluring maid.

The situation grew increasingly complicated with Ilona assuming the role of the new maid in Dr. Max Schröder’s household. Enter Franz, the eccentric household butler, a former circus magician who had fled from his wife with a snake lady and had not seen his wife and child in 15 years. Aware that his wife recently settled in Berlin, Franz was cautious about revealing himself.

Through a series of peculiar circumstances, Franz believed he had found his daughter in Ilona, and the adventurous Ilona, finding amusement in the situation, allowed him to maintain this misconception. Now believing himself to be Ilona’s father, Franz became a decisive player in the events, with his zealous actions threatening to tear the two lovers apart forever. However, a misunderstanding led to a disagreement with Ilona, prompting Paul to realize the genuineness and unbreakable nature of his love for her. Overcoming his hesitations, he timidly proposed to Ilona through the butler, Franz.

Overjoyed, Franz hurried to his estranged wife, Albertine, to share the news of their daughter’s engagement to Dr. Paul Schröder. There, he discovered his real daughter and came to believe that Ilona, who had posed as his daughter, had already revealed this “deception” to Otti. Paul forgave Ilona even more joyfully, as it provided him with the opportunity to prove his love for her, not as Ilona von Takacs, the landowner’s daughter, but as Franz’s daughter, the humble maid, Ilona.

Georg Herzberg’s review in Film Kurier No. 262 (November 5, 1932)
Yes, this woman, Franziska Gaàl, has paprika in her blood. She hails from Budapest and brings a unique charm to the screen. Let’s not forget the accent on the second “a,” Mr. Setzer.

When she arrives in Berlin, she sets her sights on Mr. Paul Hörbiger, a man preoccupied with frogs and scientific puzzles, hardly paying attention to women. Disguised as a maid, Ilona must make her move. Compared to him, the chaste Josef was a Casanova. But as I mentioned before, Ilona has paprika in her blood, and eventually, the victim succumbs. A happy victim indeed.

Bobby Lüthge introduces other characters into the plot, adapted from Reimann and Schwarz’s stage play, “The Leap into Marriage.” There’s a household servant who mistakes Ilona for his daughter, a constantly jumping husband, and his gentle, loving, good wife. Yet, none of them compare to the enigmatic Ilona von Takasz from Budapest.

Now, why did this woman captivate the audience? She’s not conventionally beautiful, slightly chubby, her dancing skills are lacking, and her voice is average for a sound film operetta. However, she possesses a certain something that some may not feel, but the majority of the audience voted for her. Her rambunctiousness, tipsiness, and pouting are endearing.

Director Carl Boese seems to have regained his touch, working seamlessly and energetically in the crucial scenes. The weight of his film sometimes falters when Hugo Fischer-Koeppe overplays a supporting role, filling scene after scene with less-than-amusing antics. No offense intended, Mr. Fischer-Koeppe—belated congratulations on your anniversary—but some editing would greatly benefit the film in this case.

Hörbiger blends grumbling and growling with numerous helpless gestures that the women in the orchestra seats simply adore, turning him into a lovable eccentric. Paul Heidemann plays the comedic template, while Lieselotte Schaack surprises with some excellent moments. Margarete Kupfer, Frigga Braut, and, once again, Hermann Picha make appearances. It’s incomprehensible why the production has overlooked this magnificent character actor.

Franz Wachsmann provides delightful music, with lyrics by Kurt Schwabach. Reimar Kuntze photographs with his usual care, and Gustav Knauer and Walter Reimann create tasteful set designs. Hans Grimm ensures flawless sound.

The film is met with much cheerfulness and countless curtain calls. Franziska Gaàl can be pleased with the warm reception that Berlin has prepared for her.

Deutsche Universal can also be satisfied with this surprising success, along with their audience.