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23 December 2016

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)

The West-German/Austrian co-production Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) is an adaptation of Erich Kästner's children's book of the same name. The novel was exceptionally progressive for its era, because it took children seriously, and unlike many other books of that time it didn't moralise or belittle them.

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 22. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Sabine Eggerth as Pünktchen and Peter Feldt as Anton. Caption: "What are you making?", Pünktchen asks. "Scrambled eggs", Anton says. Pünktchen did not see Anton at the summer place and therefore looked for him at his home. He's just about to cook lunch for his mother. Pünktchen had no idea that cooking could be so interesting.

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 47. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Sabine Eggerth as Pünktchen and Michael Janisch as Mr. Hollack. Caption: Pünktchen is particularly fond of talking to Mr. Hollack, the Chauffeur. To him, she prefers to ask the most tricky questions that the adults usually do not answer. Hollack does not always respond to their satisfaction, but he tries it at least.

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 66. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Heidemarie Hatheyer as Anton's mother and Maria Eis as Frau Übelmann. Caption: Actually, Anton's mother wanted to return the money quite openly. But now she is happy when, unseen by Mrs. Übelmann, she can push the ten mark banknote, supposedly stolen by her son Anton, under a stack of change.

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 73. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Sabine Eggerth as Pünktchen. Caption: A very thoughtful little bit lets herself be taken home by Chauffeur Hollack. "Mrs. Gast must really love her Anton", she suddenly says. "Now that's no reason to cry", replies Hollack. But Pünktchen really cries.

Cheap laughs and weak character elaborations


Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (1953)  is probably the best known film by director Thomas Engel. He also worked on the script, together with Maria von der Osten-Sacken.

In the film, Mr. Pogge (Paul Klinger) and his wife Eva (Hertha Feiler) are so busy with themselves that they hardly have time to look after their nine-year-old daughter Luise called Pünktchen (Sabine Eggerth). They prefer to leave Pünktchen’s education to the nanny Miss Andacht (Jane Tilden).

But Miss Andacht does not take her duties very seriously. Several times a week, she meets in Café Sommerlatte with her fiance Robert (Hans Putz). This dodgy man is only interested in her savings account and in the Villa Pogge, in order to be able to break in there on occasion.

One day, Pünktchen gets to know the twelve-year-old Anton Gast (Peter Feldt). His single mother (Heidemarie Hatheyer) usually works as a waitress in the Café Sommerlatte, but she is ill and has to stay in bed. So Anton helps in the cafe to finance his mother's recovery. Despite their social differences Pünktchen befriends Anton, and together they undergo different adventures, even preventing a burglary by Robert in Pünktchen's home.

Reviewer Thomas at IMDb: “This could have been a really nice and also touching story in the face of the two kids' different social backgrounds, but instead the makers went for cheap laughs and weak character elaborations for the entire film.” In 1999, director Caroline Link made a new version of Pünktchen und Anton. Thomas at IMDb again: “Sadly, all in all, it was equally disappointing as the one from the 1950s.”

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 76. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Hertha Feiler as Mrs. Pogge, Paul Klinger as Mr. Pogge and Claus Kaap as Klepperbein. Caption: Mr. and Mrs. Pogge go to the opera. Klepperbein sees them approaching through the front garden, and is busy. Like a puppy, he jumps around the two, thinking about how to squeeze a tip.

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 77. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Hans Putz as Robert and Jane Tilden as Miss Andacht. Caption: If the evil boys lure you ... The Pogges are in the opera, Bertha has an evening off, so Miss Andacht has to stay home tonight. But if the groom Robert comes to pick her up, then she can not resist.

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 80. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Peter Feldt as Anton. Caption: Well, thought Anton, Miss Andacht has another night out? As he continues to fulfil his duties, he keeps the couple, which is sitting in the niche next to the telephone booth, observing suspiciously. He does not know why.

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 85. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Peter Feldt as Anton. Caption: The attack command proceeds. Anton went along and showed the police the way. The house before them is dark and quiet. Would like to know how Bertha has done with the guy, he thinks.

Pünktchen und Anton (1953)
German collectors card by Holsteinisches Margarinewerk Elbgau, Hamburg-Altona, no. 91. Photo: Rhombus-Ring-Film / Herzog-Film. Publicity still for Pünktchen und Anton/Punktchen and Anton (Thomas Engel, 1953) with Peter Feldt as Anton and Curt Eilers as Polizei-Wachtmeister (police superior). Caption: A cheers, a cheers of cosiness! Even Anton forgets that he should actually return to the 'Sommerlatte' and his work. My God, one does not sit every day opposite to a supervisor from the criminal investigation department.

Sources: Wikipedia (German) and IMDb.

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