Review Der Favorit der Königin (1922)

The Seeker

Member: Rank 6

From the World Socialist Website:

This year’s retrospective included the largely unknown movie The Queen’s Favourite (Der Favorit der Königin, 1922), directed by Franz Seitz, a film in the tradition of the Enlightenment dealing with the suppression of science in the 16th century. Along with its democratic-humanistic influences, it also expresses fears of a revolutionary mass movement. At the end of the film, the moody queen with the airs of a modern, pleasure-seeking woman is forced to sign a death sentence for her lover, a corrupt dignitary. “The people’s voice is God’s voice,” reads the subtitle. Scenes of the assembled, urban angry populace recur in the film.

The contemporary reference is clear. The fragile democratic achievements of the Weimar Republic were concessions aimed at appeasing the masses. The first Weimar government, headed by the Social Democratic Party (SPD), came to power after brutally suppressing the revolutionary movement in Germany inspired by the Russian Revolution, with the help of reactionary Freikorpsmercenaries. Threatened with a coup by right-wing nationalist elements and the military (the so-called Kapp Putsch), the aroused masses intervened to rescue the government in March 1920.

The German ruling class remained terrified by the prospect of social revolution, especially as social polarisation grew under the SPD. Millions were driven into wretchedness by hyperinflation. The failure of the Communist Party (KPD) to lead the working class to power under revolutionary conditions in October 1923 sharply increased the political frustration of the working population and strengthened right-wing forces. One consequence was the election in 1925 of the former World War I general, Paul von Hindenburg, to the presidency.

After 1920 a number of films looked back with nostalgia to the period of Frederick the Great (1740-86) and the “good old days” of the Prussian monarchy. After Hindenburg’s election, the Weimar retrospective’s catalogue notes, there was a clear shift in cinematic motifs. The popular theme of the French Revolution with the broad masses at the fore tended to be replaced by “Prussian films” in which the population, with their heads sunk low, marched in orderly ranks under the supervision of patriotic officers.

Films set in the period of Germany’s wars of liberation against Napoleon (c. 1807-15) were clearly aimed at directing indignation over the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and the occupation of the Rhineland in 1923 by French troops into support for aggressive nationalism. At the same time, the films sought to portray a state ruled by the military as some sort of “people’s state” (Volksstaat).

There's a used DVD on Amazon for nearly $500. I think it's for sale on the German Amazon website, probably without English subtitles and I couldn't order it on there anyway. (You used to be able to order stuff on Amazon from other countries but you can't do that anymore.) I'd really like to see it, I wish I knew where to look.

The Seeker

Member: Rank 6
Well now, I ran it through Google Translate. It’s not letting me copy and paste on my iPad so I took screenshots of the three reviews. Here they are:

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