• Mädchen, Mädchen



    Released by: Subkultur Entertainment
    Released on: September 15th, 2016.
    Director: Roger Fritz
    Cast: Helga Anders, Jürgen Jung, Hellmut Lange, Klaus Löwitsch
    Year: 1967

    The Movie:

    Mädchen, Mädchen (Girls, Girls in English) is a somewhat unorthodox tale of a girl blossoming into womanhood directed and co-written by German filmmaker Roger Fritz in 1967, a year where social mores around the western world seemed to be loosening up.

    The story revolves around Andrea (Helga Anders), a teenage girl recently released from a juvenile detention center. As she strolls away from the facility, she’s picked up by a truck driver named Schorsch (Klaus Löwitsch) who is hauling a load to a remote factory. Andrea goes along for the ride and it’s this decision that leads her to meet Junior (Jürgen Jung), the son of the man that owns the factory. As it stands, Junior’s father is in jail and on top of that, is Andrea’s former lover as they recently had an affair.

    As the relationship between Junior and Andrea develops, on the outside at least they appear to be falling deeply in love. When it comes to pass that Junior’s father is going to get out of prison soon, however, things change and the excitement that both felt at getting away with something as taboo as what they were up to starts to fade.

    Clearly motivated by the socio-political more of its day, Mädchen, Mädchen is an interesting film that contrasts the two generations that it deals with. Obviously Junior and Andrea represent the left leaning free love generation while Junior’s father is of the old school, an ardent capitalist and a self-made man. As his release from prison looms tension replaces the carefree scenes of lovemaking and budding romance that precedes this part of the film. As generational contrast leads way to conflict, the film takes some interesting twists and turns leading to a conclusion that you just might not see coming.

    Performances are the young leads are really strong. Helga Anders is pretty, enthusiastic, and yes, girlish in a Lolita-esque manner fitting the character and her actions. She’d work with Roger Fritz a few years later in 1970 when she played the female lead in The Brutes and she also pops up Schoolgirl Report 11. She has good chemistry with Jürgen Jung who himself brings a youthful enthusiasm to the part. Monika Zinnenberg, also from The Brutes, has a supporting role in the picture. The film also benefits from a score that really suits the period in which it was made and some absolutely gorgeous cinematography. This is a movie that is in some ways a bit rough around the edges – it was Fritz’s directorial debut – but the visuals are top notch and cinematographer Klaus König’s contributions to the effectiveness of the film as just as important as any of the other collaborators.

    Note that this Blu-ray release contains both the original theatrical cut of the film as well as a newer 2016 reedit. The differences are minor. The 2016 version uses a different ending that sets up what’s to come that is absent from the theatrical cut. Other than that, there don’t appear to be any other noticeable changes between the two versions of the movie.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Subkultur Entertainment presents Mädchen, Mädchen on a 50GB Blu-ray disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.66.1 widescreen. The picture quality here is, in a word, gorgeous. The black and white image is virtually spotless showing no serious print damage at all while still retaining a nice, naturally grainy film-like quality throughout. Detail and texture are strong in pretty much every frame and black levels are nice and deep. The picture has great contrast, it never blooms or looks too hot, and the well authored disc is free of any obvious compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction. No complaints here at all – the picture quality is top notch.

    The only audio option for the disc is German language DTS-HD Mono track, though optional subtitles are provided for the feature in English, German and Italian. Again, Subkultur score high marks. The audio here is nicely balanced, it is free of any hiss or distortion and it has very good clarity from start to finish. The subtitles are clean, clear and easy to read as well.

    Extras on the disc start off with a German language commentary (with optional subtitles in English) featuring director Roger Fritz who is joined by Rainer Knepperges and Sano Cestnik. There’s some good information here that those no so familiar with the German political landscape of the era in which the film was made might find interesting. Lots of talk about how the social themes reflected in the picture tie into what was happening in the country it was made in, for example. There’s also talk about the casting, the performances, directing the picture,

    From there we move on to some featurettes (all of which are in German with English subtitles), the first of which is a sixty-three minute documentary called Two Boys And Girls Girls which is a lengthy interview with Fritz. This covers some of the same ground as the commentary but it also covers some different aspects of the making of the picture, including some of the pre-production issues that he ran into and the film’s distribution history. Actor Jürgen Jung also appears here and talks about his work on the picture early in his career, how the picture stands as a reflection of Germany’s social mores of the day and other projects that he’s gone on to since making this film. Up next is a sixteen minute piece called The Girl Monika wherein actress Monika Zinnenberg talks about getting the part in this film, her experiences on set, her thoughts on the film and some of the other film’s that she has appeared in over the years. Complementing the interview is the inclusion of a nine short film from 1986 entitled Help that was directed by Ms. Zinnenberg. Subkultur has also provided a three minute Restoration Comparison piece that shows what went into getting the film into the beautiful shape it is on this release.

    Also worth mentioning is a three minute long Alternate Ending (there’s no dialogue here, just foley effects and music), a two minute alternate scene entitled 113, and then two minutes of Cutting Room Floor footage that’s basically just a quick two minute collection of trims and outtakes.

    Rounding out the extras are three different German language theatrical trailers, a huge still gallery of promotional materials, menus and chapter selection. Also included inside the slipcase packaging is a sixteen page insert booklet that contains writing on the film in German. As this is a combo pack release we also get a DVD version of the movie that contains the same extras as are found on the Blu-ray disc.

    The Final Word:

    Mädchen, Mädchen is an interesting mix of exploitation and melodrama that features some impressive camerawork and solid performances. Subkultur’s Blu-ray release gives this obscurity the deluxe treatment, presenting it with an impressive array of (mostly English friendly) extra features and in absolutely beautiful shape.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!