(aka FRAU HOLLY)
(c1968), Color, 79 minutes
Presented by K. Gordon Murray
Adaptation from the Fairy Tale by The Brothers Grimm
English Adaptation by Reuben Guberman (as “Rubin Guberman”)
Edited by J.R. Remy
Associate Producer: Sheldon M. Schermer
Assistant Director: Thomas Finucane
Script Clerk: Diana McAtee
Produced by K. Gordon Murray
Directed by Reuben Guberman (as “Rubin Guberman”)
(1954) West Germany, 79 minutes
Fritz Genschow Film (Berlin)
Produced by Fritz Genschow
Directed by Fritz Genschow
Screenplay: Renee Strobrawa, Ursula Horwitz
Executive Producer: F. W. Schlüter
Music by Richard Stauch
Cinematography: Wolf Göthe
Assistant Camera: Fritz Illing
Special Effects: Gerhard Hutula
Assistant Effects: Erich Mier
Editing: Annelise Krigar
Bauten: Waldemar Volkmer
Ton: Hans Lohmer
Maskenbildnerin: Charlotte Krause
CAST: Renee Strobrawa (Mother Holly), Rita-Maria Nowotny-Genschow (Rose-Marie), Erika Petrick (Else-Marie), Melitta Klefer (Mrs. Kohlhase), Werner Stock (Black-Peter), Rudi Geske (Hans Schultze), Gustav Bertram (Grandfather), Anneliese Würtz (Mrs. Schultze), Heidi Ewert (Caroline), Eberhard Fechner, Kurt Fleck, Reiner Hengst, Hannes Huben, Dagmar Kuckuck, Klaus Pfeifer, Uwe Witt…
“and 180 children!”
this is the English dub version produced by K Gordon Murray. VHS transfer, color, mono, fullscreen. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!
From a very odd fable comes a very strange and wonderful fairy tale movie, a fanciful and somewhat spooky tale of opposites, the rewards of industry and the lure of sloth.
We start off with some nice artwork of a Bavarian village, and segway into a typical fairy tale village, full of both happiness and intrigue.
The fairy tales directed by Fritz Genschow all feature breathtaking real-world locations, including marketplaces, street scenes and castles, which add a certain neo-realist flavor to these winning fables.
Mother Holly is a strange fairy tale heroine, half-mother, half-witch, and somewhat spooky in her supernatural omnipotence.
By far the most interesting character in the film is Black-Peter, the devil. His tireless misanthropic antics give the film much of its humor and joy. (In fact, a demon tempting children to be evil in a retail environment revisits one of the major themes in Murray’s great SANTA CLAUS.)
The Kohlhase sisters are funny as well. Rose-Marie is pretty and good-hearted, i.e. boring, but nutty sis Else-Marie is a selfish twit of legendary stature.
The f/x work in MOTHER HOLLY is spare and minimal: super-imposition, lap dissolves, and a few prop antics like dancing bread suffice to create Mother Holly’s “Wonder World”. The gold shower and coal shower, for example, are simple yet effective. There is, in addition, a preoccupation with shadows and silhouettes, two simple and underused methods of conveying the soul or the “spirit” of character, and it is nice to see a film that doesn’t shy away from this economical but winning techinque.
The obsession on children in this film suggests a post-war, pro-breeder agenda right in keeping with a country trying to rebuild after the scandal of Hitler. MOTHER HOLLY is simply bursting with attractive children.
There are several cheery songs, which are left in their native German, suggesting that Murray intended this film for a limited or TV-only release. This may be a blessing or a curse, depending on your point of view, considering the demented dubbed tunes in TABLE, DONKEY AND STICK!
MOTHER HOLLY is certainly an affable live-action fable, and one we are grateful to locate after all these years.