The Never Never Princess
(aka DIE GANSEMAGD, THE GOOSE GIRL)
(1957, East Germany) color 78 minutes
Story: Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm, Wilhelm Carl Grimm
Screenplay: Fritz Genschow
Music: Richard Stauch
Cinematography: Gerhard Huttula
Edited by Erika Petrick
Produced by Fritz Genschow
Directed by Fritz Genschow
With: Rita-Maria Nowotny (Princess Rosemarie), Renee Stobrawa (Queen Mother), Fritz Genschow (the King), Peter Hack (Prince Charming), Wolfgang Draeger, Renate Fischer (Marion, the Chambermaid), Gunter Hertel, Theodore Vogeler, Alexander Welbat
(1968) Childhood Productions 69 minutes (November release)
Narrated by Paul Tripp
Songs: Will Holt
Orchestrations: Jack Holland
Background Music: Richard Hayman
Musical Director: George Brackman
DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!
This is a most pleasant fairy tale from renowned German director Fritz Genschow. It shares many similarities with other fairy tales by Genschow, especially his wonderful telling of FRAU HOLLE (released in the U.S. by K. Gordon Murray as MOTHER HOLLY). This includes the excellent Renee Strobawa and Rita-Maria Nowotny in main parts, as well as using similar location settings. The two stories also share a fair number of plot points (including the curious fact that the villain in both is a brunette!).
Producer-Director Genschow also takes a lead role, as the kindly King, father of Prince Charming. As in all the Genschow fairy tales, there is exquisite costuming and set design, and the use of magnificent real-life locations and buildings, some of which look like they fell out of an ancient fairyland. The huge estate of Prince Charming is a good example of using existing structures to impressive effect.
When Marion’s evil plan takes effect, Rosemarie loses not only her position, but her authority, identity, friends, even her beloved horse. This is a chilling illustration of a primal existential conundrum: who are we, really, if our friends and loved ones cannot identify us, if we are lost in a strange land, without proof of our history?
And poor Valiant! Rosemarie’s beloved horse is ordered beheaded by the cruel Marion. Valiant continues to communicate with Rosemarie, as a disembodied ghost-head.
Rosemarie appears to have some magical powers as well, or at least she curries favor from the elements; she is able to make the hat of her co-worker, Joey the Goose Boy, fly all over the place whenever he gets too flirty!
Oddly, Rosemarie finally reveals the truth about herself by talking into an oven, the very same oven used to bake the talking bread in Genschow’s FRAU HOLLE!
Marion the chambermaid bears a striking resemblance to a young Drew Barrymore. Comic relief is provided by Hick and Kook, two well-meaning but bumbling knights. There are some wonderful scenes with a gaggle of beautiful white geese.
We end with a marvelous wedding scene, heavily populated and beautifully choreographed, another Genschow trademark. Rosemarie and the Prince dance, while Hick and Kook are forced to eat sausages as their punishment for neglecting their Princessly duties. Meanwhile, Rosemarie’s beloved steed, Valiant, is returned to improbable life, but that’s a fairy tale for you!
The lessons learned are multifold: never trust your inferiors, always have faith, and be assured that you can never lose your true “self”. THE NEVER NEVER PRINCESS is a fetching fable with a nice supernatural touch.
Most noticeable in the English-Language Version is the absence of composing team Anne & Milton Delugg to provide the English musical soundtrack, who provided the scores for most of the earlier CP releases. However, the songs by Will Holt, including “On the Rhine”, “Blow, Wind, Blow!”, “We Are Noble Knights”, “Off With an Ear”, and others, are quite catchy.