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Tiefland (1954)

Cast: Leni Riefenstahl, Leni Riefenstahl, Franz Eichberger, more...
Director: Leni Riefenstahl, Leni Riefenstahl
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Studio: Pathfinder Home Entertainment
Genre: Classics, Drama, Foreign, Romance, Germany, Classic Drama, Classic Drama
Running Time: 94 min.
Languages: German
Subtitles: English
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After spending the 1930s as the Third Reich's principal cinematic chronicler, Leni Riefenstahl returned to fictional films with Tiefland. According to Riefenstahl, she had refused to make any more propaganda pictures--"for good reasons," she explained enigmatically--choosing instead to direct a period romance, based on an old Spanish play and opera by Eugen d'Albert. Riefenstahl cast herself as the central character, Marta, a Spanish dancer who becomes the romantic bone of contention between humble shepherd Franz Eichberger and imperious marquis Bernhard Minetti. While the material seems to cry out for music, Riefenstahl plays the story straight, though much of the acting can certainly be described as operatic. In one scene, the director utilized a band of gypsies as atmosphere extras; as soon as their scenes were completed, the gypsies were returned to their Nazi concentration camp--where most of them were doomed to extermination. Personally financed by Riefenstahl, Tiefland was filmed between 1942 and 1944, which explains the presence of Maria Koppenhofer (who died in 1948). Final editing was not completed until around 1953, at which time Riefenstahl personally accompanied her print of the film to selected showings in Germany and Austria. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Worthwhile, but flawed by SilentRobert June 28, 2007 - 9:33 AM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Tiefland is the unfortunate conclusion to Leni Riefenstahl's film career. On vivid display is her masterful cinematography as well as her weakness as an actor.

The photography in the mountains is exceptional and is where the film really shines. The images compare with Riefenstahl's "The Blue Light" (1932), though one could say that her technique had not developed any further since the earlier film.

The overall theme of the film also mirrors her earlier mountain films. While the drama of the characters plays out, the true conflict is between the strength and purity of the mountains versus the weakness and decadence of the lowlands (the tiefland).

For the most part the acting is fairly wooden. Riefenstahl's worst error was casting herself as Martha, the female lead. Her acting was never that great, and it is certainly not good enough here to make believable her role as a traveling Spanish dancer.

On a technical note, the Foley work is clumsy and can be annoying if you pay too much attention to it.

Tiefland is a must-see if you're in to Riefenstahl, but it's unlikely to be interesting to a general viewer looking for good entertainment.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.67)
3 Votes
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