Sunday, 20 November 2016

Liebesgrüße aus der Lederhose 3 (3 Stars)

The third film in the Lederhose series was made in 1977, three years after the second part. I'm sure there's a story behind the delay, but I haven't been able to find out the reason. Franz Marischka, who directed the first two films, was a prolific director, making about four films a year since 1960, but he took a four-year break from making films from 1975 to 1979. Was it due to sickness? Did he find religion? I have no idea. He wrote an autobiography, "Immer nur lächeln" ("Keep smiling"), which might give an answer. If anyone can tell me anything, please leave a comment below. Since he was no longer making films and the Lederhose series was one of the most successful film series in Germany in the 1970's somebody else had to take over. The replacement director was Gunter Otto, the cinematographer who had worked with Franz Marischka on his earlier films.

There is almost no continuity, neither in the plot nor in the style. Sepp Eber, who we knew as a hotel owner in Pfronten, is now the mayor of a fictional village called Entenbach, presumably close to Pfronten, judging by the scenery. Same name, different person. His wife doesn't appear in the film, and he now has an adult daughter who was never mentioned in the first two films.

In comparison with the first two films, there is very little sexual activity. The new director relies on slapstick and jokes about Bavarian farmers. When there is any nudity it's brief, as if Gunter Otto felt compelled to add erotic elements just to please the fans of the first two films.

The film is about village rivalry, which is common in southern Germany. The state government has decided that the two villages Almendingen (also fictional) and Entenbach should be combined into a single town called Großalmendingen ("Great Almendingen"). Apart from the fact that the two villages hate one another, Entenbach doesn't want to lose its identity. Almendingen might be the larger of the two villages, but Entenbach has existed longer. The two villages go to war, led by Alois Brummberger, the mayor of Almendingen, and Sepp Eber, the mayor of Entenbach. They try to sabotage one another's hotel business with fiendish tricks like tipping manure in the streets. A complication to the story is that Alois' son Sigi is dating Sepp's daughter Uschi. Both the parents disapprove and call them traitors. Romeo and Juliet stories never go out of style.

One highlight of the film is the appearance of Rosl Mayr, the grand old lady of German erotic comedies, as Alois' wife. She makes me laugh whenever I see her.

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