I had never heard of this latter-day Siodmak effort prior to its showing up one afternoon on Italian TV. As it turned out, this was quite an interesting and unusual film – being a critique of the Nazi regime from the viewpoint of the Germans themselves. Even more surprising is the fact that the subject matter is treated here as black comedy – dealing with an ageing postal worker (a wonderful Heinz Ruhmann) who, fed up with the war, decides to write to his old school chum Hermann Goering; however, his letter is intercepted by the latter’s underlings and Ruhmann soon finds himself a political prisoner! Eventually, Goering (never actually seen) gets wind of his friend’s situation and orders a medical examination where he’s to be declared insane and thus not qualified for the death sentence – the trouble is that, with the war over, he can’t get his old job back because of this “condition”!!
So begins his 15-year odyssey to contact the people who could attest to his normal mental health – however, they’re either dead, behind bars or unwilling (a Nazi doctor, involved in the sterilization of patients and who was against the diagnosis, suffered the consequences for defying Goering’s instructions). Among the funny/absurdist bits are the fight between Goering’s lackeys for possession of the treasonous letter, Mario Adorf’s appearance as a fellow prisoner of Ruhmann’s (he killed a relative for snoring and, being a law student, is actually cross that it’s his cellmate who’s passed off as crazy rather than himself) and the party after the war during which a masked Ruhmann attempts to elicit a response from an ex-Nazi officer determined to keep a low profile.
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