Friday, 25 November 2016

Liebesgrüße aus der Lederhose 4 (4 Stars)

The fourth film in the Lederhose series was made in 1978, a year after the third film. Gunter Otto continued as director. In my review of "Liebesgrüße aus der Lederhose 3" I pointed out a lack of continuity from the first two films. It seems that Gunter Otto is now getting into his stride. He's continuing with the slapstick humour, but he's returned to the eroticism that we grew used to in the first two films that were directed by Franz Marischka.

The continuity is only in the style. As far as the plot goes, there's merely a semblance of continuity. Let me explain what I mean. In a film series with full continuity, such as the Fast and Furious films, each film continues from the previous film. There may be new characters, but any actors who return from the previous films play the old characters with the same history. In a film series without continuity, such as the Carry On films, the same actors return from film to film, but in each film they're someone different. They have different names and they're in a different setting.

Gunter Otto takes a middle path between the two extremes. The actors who return from previous films play the same characters, with the same names and the same personalities, but they're in different circumstances. For instance, Peter Steiner is the actor who plays Sepp, the main character in all of the Lederhose films. He runs a hotel in Pfronten in the first two films. In the third film he's the mayor of a village called Entenbach. In the fourth film he's a train driver. In the first two films he lives with his wife. In the next two films there's no wife, and no explanation why she isn't with him, and he lives with his daughter Uschi. In the third film Franz Muxeneder played the mayor of Almendingen, Alois Brummberger, and in the fourth film he's still Alois Brummberger the mayor, but it seems to be a different village. Sepp and Alois were enemies in the third film and they're still enemies now, though under different circumstances.

In fact, all the main characters from the third film return in the fourth, though with varying continuity. Rosl Mayr, pictured above, was Alois' wife in the third film. In this film she's a woman who runs a farm with the help of young female volunteers. Alois is no longer married to her -- or to put it more accurately, he was never married to her -- so he's able to marry a young attractive woman. Lucky Alois!

Or maybe he's not so lucky. "Liebesgrüße aus der Lederhose 4" is separated into two stories, two acts. The first act lasts for 30 minutes, and the second lasts for the remaining hour. They continue into one another, but the plots are so distinct that either story could be watched without the other. In the first act it's the wedding day of mayor Alois Brummberger and his young bride Josefa. He doesn't realise that he's marrying a nymphomaniac. She has sex with two men before the wedding, she slips away from the wedding reception with one of the guests, and on the wedding night she looks for another man to satisfy her because her husband is too drunk to perform his marital duties. Poor Alois!

The second act takes place a few weeks after the wedding and is about Willi and Sepp, pictured above. Sepp (on the right) drives the local train, and Willi is the ticket collector. They're fired because the train is unprofitable. They decide to buy the train and continue the service privately. At first they have hardly any customers, which is why the train service was stopped. Then Sepp has a brilliant idea. He convinces the girls who work on Rosl's farm to ride on the train to attract male customers. It isn't just about eye candy. The girls are hungry for sex, so they give themselves to the men who travel on the train. Business booms!

This is a hilarious film, a good example of what Germany had to offer in the way of erotic comedies in the 1970's. If you live in Germany there's a good chance that you already know it. If you don't live in Germany, if you're a foreigner who has only learnt German in school, it's worth looking for this classic film.

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