Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Emperor of California

Der Kaiser von Kalifornien - German title
L'empereur de Californie - French title
O aftokrator tis Kalifornias - Greek title
L’imperatore della California - Italian title
El emperador della California - Spanish title
Kejsaren av Kalifornien - Swedish title
The Kaiser of California - English title
The Emperor of California - English title

A 1936 German production [Luis Trenker Films (Munich)]
Producer: Luis Trenker (Alois Trenker)
Director: Luis Trenker (Alois Trenker)
Story: Luis Trenker (Alois Trenker)
Screenplay: Luis Trenker (Alois Trenker)
Cinematography: Albert Benitz, Heinz von Haworsky [black & white]
Music: Giuseppe Becce
Running time: 101 minutes

Johann August Sutter - Luis Trenker (Alois Trenker)
Anna Sutter - Viktoria von Ballasko
Rudolf Sutter - Werner Kunig
Emil Sutter - Karli Zwingmann
Mrs. Dübol - Elise Aulinger (Elise Sommer)
Amalie - Melanie Horeschovsky
‘The Stranger’ - Bernhard Minetti
Ermattinger - Luis Gerold
Bartender Billy - Paul Verhoeven
Governor Alverado - Hans Zesch-Ballot
Mrs. Alverado - Marcella Albani
Adjutant Castro - Walter Franck
John Marshall - Reginald Pasch (Reinhold Pasch)
Ganove Harper - August Eichhorn
Brown’s fellow - Jim Simmons
Kumpane Harper’s writer - Michael von Newlinski
Chansonette - Berta Drews
Mayor Kewen of San Francisco - Alexander Golling
Thompson - Heinrich Marlow
bankers - Rudolf Kelin-Rogge (Friedrich Klein-Rogge), Otto Stockel (Otto Stoeckel), Bruno Ziener
police counselor - Josef Reithofer (Josef Kiesslich)
policeman - Jakob Sinn
Smith - Erich Dunskus
Harpers Kumpan - Michael von Newlinsky
villager - Josef Eichheim
coachman - Armin Schweizer
Jones - Josef Voggenhauser
goldminers - Walter Albrecht, Peter Busse, Rudolf Preuss
gambling den visitor - Barbara von Annenkoff
saloon girl - Friedel Towae
American envoy - Karl-Helge Hofstadt
Governor’s guest - Alfred Karen
cowboys - Jac Diehl (Jacob Diehl), Erich Meißel
townsmen in San Francisco - Auguste Wanner-Kirsch, Wolfgang Staudte, Peter Bergin, Hendrik Bronsgeest, Willy Brüdjam, Ingeborg Carlsson, Elisabeth Kuhlmann, Karl Leander, Hugo Lehner, Ferdinand Trenker

The Swiss printer Johann August Sutter leaves his Austrian home for political reasons. He contemplates suicide until a mysterious stranger promises him a better future in the New World of America, so in May of 1836 he flees to the United States. He relocates on the Mississippi, then moves further west, to California. At the upper Sacramento River, he founds New Helvetia. Their, he’s able to ship a rich harvest and bring in huge cattle herds. Sutter had left his wife and children behind, which until now have remained in the old country. One of Sutter's men, John Marshall, with a construction crew 40 miles north of Fort Sutter build a sawmill, and in January 1848 discover gold. It is not possible to conceal the discovery for long and it leaks out in San Francisco and the gold rush of 1849 begins. Sutter’s crops are trampled, the cattle die of thirst, the goods spoil in the warehouse and Sutter’s two sons are killed in the gold fields. Sutter seeks to legally gain ownership of the land on which the gold was found, which he had legally acquired from the Mexican authorities. Sutter's enemies believe these agreements were void, after the U.S. purchased California. For the fifteen-year anniversary of San Francisco a huge festival is held. While the celebration is in process, the verdict in the Sutter legal suit is proclaimed, it acknowledges Sutter's right of ownership. Sutter demands immediate removal of all gold mining from his territory. A riot breaks out and Sutter's property goes up in flames. Ten years later, we see an old tired man stepping out of a coach at the Capitol in Washington D.C.. Here Sutter again meets the mysterious stranger who once lured him to America and shows him a vision of modern America.

[1936 winner of the Italian “Mussolini Cup” for best Foreign Film at the Venice Film Festival.]

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