When it was released in 1950, The Sinner inspired vigorous protests and caused huge controversy for a film industry just getting back on its feet. Its tale of a young woman who survives as a prostitute after the war and later falls in love with a dying artist shocked conservatives and religious authorities. A popular actor and director of comedies since the 1920s, director Forst, in his first postwar movie, reveals a considerable feeling for melodrama. His narration proceeds without any sensationalism, and the theme of a great, ill-fated love is skillfully developed through the unfolding memories of the woman.
Director: Willi Forst. AKA The Sinner
Writers: Willi Forst, Gerhard Menzel, Georg Marischka.
Stars: Hildegard Knef, Gustav Fröhlich, Änne Bruck, Robert Meyn, Jochen-Wolfgang Meyn, Andreas Wolf, Benno Gellenbeck, Theo Tecklenburg, Karl Kramer, Horst von Otto, Irene Mirbach, Carl Voscherau.
Cinematographer: Václav Vích.
Composer: Theo Mackeben.
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Note: English subtitles by FatPlank & TimCooper @KG with much improved timings by me, additional thanks to my good friend Pablo K. for some minor corrections in the translation.
An interesting choice for Forst, usually a director of light operettas
If anything justifies the rationale for your site, a film like this forms the key evidence. Before the dominance of Germany’s post-war cinema du papa” that the German New Wave would temporairly dislodge, the immediate post-war period saw several attempts by West German cinema to move into new directions. This was one of the attempts but, like the explicit social connotations of American film noir became victim to the forces of reaction.
From what I’ve read, Forst today is regarded as “subversive” because his operettas went against the grain of Reich cinema. His WOMEN ARE NO ANGELS shot in 1943 is another example.