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The Man I Married

(1940 b 77')

En: 6 Ed: 7

An American woman goes to Germany with her husband and is horrified to find him agreeing with the Nazis.

In July 1938 New York art critic Carol Hoffman (Joan Bennett) is going to Germany with her husband Eric Hoffman (Francis Lederer). Dr. Hugo Gerhardt (Ludwig Stossel) tells them his brother Ernst is in Dachau concentration camp and asks them to take $500 to him. They arrive at Bremerhaven, where people say "Heil Hitler." On the train to Berlin Eric reads how advanced Germany is industrially. They see Austrians being brought in to work. Frieda (Anna Sten) greets Eric and Carol. Eric's father Heinrich Hoffman (Otto Kruger) says he has not left the house in six months, and Eric must sell his factory. Germans are required to listen to Goebbels on the radio. They watch military exercises. Eric suggests to Carol that they stay so he can run the factory. Frieda tells Carol they must not help Ernst. When Eric agrees, Carol goes home. Her son Ricky (Lionel Royce) had a bad dream. Carol is jealous of Frieda. Carol goes to American reporter Kenneth Delane (Lloyd Nolan), who tells her that Ernst is dead and gets the address of his family. Carol and Kenneth see storm troopers persecuting Czechs, making them pick up garbage they strewed. Frau Gerhardt (Maria Ouspenskaya) thanks Carol for the money but declines to leave Germany.

Carol and Eric debate German policies, and he goes out to see party officials with Frieda. Heinrich tells Carol that he hopes for war to end the lunacy. Carol helps a wounded man trying to escape Dachau and is arrested and questioned until Kenneth gets her released. Carol and Eric attend a Hitler rally. Afterwards Eric goes with Frieda, and Carol is picked up by Kenneth, who says that Hitler is a master magician planning war. Very late Carol asks Eric to take her and Ricky away; but Eric says he is staying and joined the Nazi party. Eric wants to marry Frieda and can divorce Carol for having ridiculed the Fuhrer. Eric says he won't let her take Ricky. Kenneth says that Carol and Ricky must leave right away, and he will arrange it. Eric won't let Carol go out with Ricky. Heinrich tells Eric not to take his son away from his mother; but Eric says no. Heinrich threatens to report that Eric's mother was a Jewess, causing Frieda to reject Eric as a Jew. Heinrich says that Eric will suffer and learn what he would have done to others. In the final scene at the train Kenneth says good-bye to Carol and Ricky.

This drama helped American audiences learn about Nazi Germany by showing an American woman experiencing Berlin in 1938 as her German husband marvels at full employment and efficiency while making excuses for German propaganda. Little violence is shown, but this realistic film is more chilling than a horror movie.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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