Illusion in Moll (1952)

Countries - West Germany  |  
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This minor 1952 drama resurfaced during the 1989 Berlin Film Festival, and was found to have previously unsuspected historical and artistic merit. At the time it was made, Sybille Schmitz, one of the great movie stars and beauties of the Nazi era, was fading into her final dissipation and scandal-ridden suicide in 1955 (the subject of a later film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Veronika Voss). At the same time, two of her costars in this film, Hardy Kruger and Hildegard Knef, were just beginning to make their presence known. The story in this black and white film in some ways parallels the actor's actual circumstances at the time, and gains resonance from that fact. In the film, Schmitz is a wealthy widow who has grown romantically attached to a band leader who is at least as well known for his seductions as for his music. When her son, Kruger, becomes aware of her impending marriage to this cad, he enlists the help of his tragically ill fiancee (Knef) to unmask this man for the villain he really is. Alas, when the widow's illusions are shattered, her dreams are also, and by the end of the film she is alone and miserable, watching the two young lovers head off "into the sunset."