Sounds very interesting. Too bad I couldn't join you because of my cold. How about the talk with Kurt Maetzig? What was it like?
I've seen a very extraordinary (West) German film yesterday, and though I've seen 22 films (!) by Alfred Vohrer before, this was a surprise nevertheless. Though the title suggest a detective story,
"Ein Alibi zerbricht / An Alibi for Death" (1963)
is more a dark marriage melodrama with a thrilling, criminal touch. The great, unforgotten Ruth Leuwerik plays a lawyer (her character hasn't much in common with the usual female characters of German cinema in the early 60ies) who happens to discover that her husband Gnther (Peter van Eyck) knew the man for whose murder her last client was innocently accused. She begins to distrust him and herself more and more just to finally find out that the only thing that could helped their love to last would have been repression.
What's most unusual about the film (written by acclaimed screen writer Herbert Reinecker) is its attempt to tell about two different matters visual and acoustic. While the sound tells the thrilling story, the images are loaded with symbolism and correspond with the rest in a very complex and asscociating way. If you watch the film, you'll get a bizarre argument about what went wrong with the political and social rehabilitation of germany as a nation of wealth in the 1950ies (The ignorant, snobbish character of Peter van Eyck is the "Best of the Worst"...), if you listen to it, there will hardly be more than an entertaining chiller... but if you do both, you'll get some kind of quaint mixture including the interesting fact that Alfred Vohrer as a gay director tried to stage the tragedy of a breaking heterosexual relationship. Vohrer collaborated very often with Herbert Reinecker later but they never really reached the quality of this early work again. Also remarkable: The film suggests that the "typical" social solidarity among german people went down within the afore said rehabilitation. The film itself was a huge flop and hardly brought its budget back - it still remains a forgotten, obscure rarity. And the soundtrack of Germany's wizard of experimental film music, Peter Thomas, is brilliant.
Rated 22 out of 25.
There's a funny comment on IMDb which says it's a pity to notice that this was the last feature film to star Ruth Leuwerik. I can hardly agree with anything that guy wrote - "An Alibi for Death" is for sure one of the most unusual commercial (and consider the fact that, at this time, cinema in germany was almost only commercial, the new, independent german wave was still far away in 1963!) German films of its time and much more interesting than the before mentioned Karl May and Edgar Wallace-Adaptations. It is almost hard to select the interesting german films from those years - the terrible, kitschy and sentimental films with regional background (The Bavarian Alps, very often...) were still pretty overwhelming in 1963.
EDIT: For those who are interested: "I am the Rabbit" and "Schlsser und Katen" (1957) by Kurt Maetzig are available on DVD over here - english subtitled!