Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The German Das Haus Am Fluss (House on the River) is based on "The Russian Pelt," a 1942 story by Frederick Wolf. The film takes place in an industrial community just outside of Berlin in 1941. Two sisters--unmarried Emmi and married Agnes--live with their mother while their men are off to war. Emmi receives a Ukranian blouse from her fiance, who is fighting in Russia. Her acceptance of what is considered "war goods" upsets the equillibrium of the community. Meanwhile, Agnes is being pursued by the factory boss who arranged with his Gestapo contacts to have Agnes' husband sent to the Russian front. Noting the effect the Ukranian blouse has on the flighty Emmi, the factory boss hopes to entice Agnes by offering her a Ukranian fur pelt. Agnes' seriously injured husband returns from the war with a similar pelt as a gift. Agnes symbolically accepts her husband's gift over that of the boss, who responds by threatening to have the husband imprisoned as a subversive. The boss is killed by Agnes who, despite her subsequent arrest by the Gestapo, feels that she's won a moral victory. As for Emmi, she hangs herself upon discovering that her fiance has been killed.
boss [employer], factory, factory-worker, husband, mother, sister, war, suicide