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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: December 2013

5 - Resisting the War (Film): Wicki's “Masterpiece” Die Brücke and Its Generic Transformations

  • Edited by Jaimey Fisher, Associate Professor of German and Cinema and Technocultural Studies, and Director of Cinema and Technocultural Studies, at the University of California, Davis.
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
  • pp 109-132


One hesitates to start with any sort of polled survey, but such surveys both illuminate and constitute the wider film culture that the present volume's generic approach foregrounds. In a 1995 survey celebrating the centennial of cinema, Bernhard Wicki's Die Brücke (The Bridge, 1959) was named by industry personnel, critics, and scholars the thirteenth most significant work of German cinema's first century, placing it between Der Student von Prag (The Student of Prague, 1913) and Abschied von Gestern (Yesterday's Farewell, released in English as Yesterday Girl, 1966); even more impressively, this remarkably high ranking rendered it the list's third highest postwar film (the top of the list is dominated by films of the celebrated Weimar era). Critics placed it ahead not only of all the works of the so-called New German Cinema but even of Weimar classics such as Lang's Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler (Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler, 1922); Murnau's Der letzte Mann (The Last Man, released in English as The Last Laugh 1925); and Pabst's famously controversial Die 3-Groschen-Oper (Three-Penny Opera, 1931). Although this survey hardly proves quality, it underscores a contradiction within the broader film culture of which Die Brücke and this kind of survey are both part: despite this dignified company on the survey's list, Die Brücke has received very little scholarly attention, which is all the more surprising given that Die Brücke is also the most highly placed war film in the survey.