Friday, 18 November 2016

Liebesgrüße aus der Lederhose (3 Stars)

The title of this film can be best translated as "Greetings from the Lederhose". If any Germans object to my omitting the "Liebes-" suffix from the translation, I think it's too weak in its meaning to justify being emphasised in English. We could also write "Love from the Lederhose", which would be a parallel expression to typical holiday postcard slang like "Love from Bavaria", which means little more than "Best wishes from Bavaria". The German title does have sexual connotations, but it only hints at sexuality. Of course, the film poster shows a cartoon of naked girls climbing into a Lederhose, which makes it clear that it's all about sex.

The connection with holiday postcards isn't accidental. This is a film about people who go on holiday. The setting is a small village in the Bavarian mountains. There are two hotels, "The Wild Boar" and "The Tired Ox". Most of the holidaymakers are married women spending time away from their husbands, hoping for secret sexual adventures. "The Wild Boar" is successful, due to the amorous attention of the hotel owner Sepp, who sneaks into the bedrooms at night when his wife is asleep. "The Tired Ox" stands empty, because the owner Michl isn't up to the job of keeping his guests satisfied. To solve the problem he hires a handsome young playboy to do the job for him.

This probably isn't the best German erotic comedy of the 1970's, but it's the most typical. If you want to study this genre it's an important film to add to your collection. Despite frequent nudity it's very tame by today's standards. Its strength is in the humour, horny women from the city pursuing the Bavarian villagers and hardly giving them any time to rest.

"Liebesgrüße aus der Lederhose" was made in 1973, and it spawned five sequels, all directed by Franz Marischka. Countless imitations were made in the 1970's, but I don't mean that negatively. Erotic comedies, especially the Bavarian erotic comedies, were the most important German films of the 1970's.

The village isn't named in the film, but it's Pfronten, a picturesque little village close to the Italian border. Supposedly the tourist industry in the village boomed as a result of being used in the Lederhose films, though I doubt husbands allowed their wives to go their unaccompanied.

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