3/11/2010

WEGE ZU KRAFT UND SCHONHEIT





Title in German: Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit
Hergestellt von der Kulturabteilung der UFA in sechs Teilen
Title in English: Ways to Strength and Beauty (official title)
Subtitle in German: Ein Film über moderne Körperkultur
Subtitle in English: A Film About Modern Physical Culture in six parts
Genre: Culture film, silent with explanatory notes in German, black-and-white
Country of Origin: Germany
Format: DVD, PAL
Director: Wilhelm Prager (1876-1955)
Screenplay: Dr. med. Nicholas Kaufmann (1892-1970)
Music: Dr. Guiseppe Becce (1877-1973)
Producers: UFA (Universum Film-Aktiengesellschaft)
Advisors: Prof. Arthur Kampf (1865-1950), Fritz Klimsch (1870-1960), Carl Ebbinghaus (1872-1950) and Dr. August Köster (1873-1935)
Camera: Weinmann, Hrich, Paulmann, Schatzow and Stöcker
Region: 2
No. of Discs: 1
DVD Year: 2008
Running Time: 1:28:45 (originally 104min.)
Product Code: N/A
Entry No.: 2009001
Entry Date: 9th March 2009

FILM PREVIEW

The original film had its premiere at UFA-Palast am Zoo, Berlin, on March 16, 1925 and belonged to the late silent era. The entire film glorified body culture in Ancient Greece, Rome and the early 20th century. It consisted of six parts, each dealing with a different topic such as dance, sports, life in ancient Greece and modern times and so on. Little mention or so about the thriving free body culture (FKK) with limited nudity– no full frontal nudity– men wore shorts or "the minimum" and mostly bare-breasted women did gymnastics.

The film was shown in many countries outside Germany; unfortunately, with heavily censored to minimize and/or eliminate nude scenes.

Body culture as well as nude culture (nacktkultur) reached a new high in the mid-1920's. The term "nude culture" (nacktkultur) was replaced by "free body culture" (Freikörperkultur) by German nudists in 1925 to make a distinction between the genuine movement and fans of nude ballets and dancing.

There were frequent references to the following persons in the original version. We double-checked names and added additional information. However, we still believe the original version has been censored heavily and some scenes have been shortened for obvious reasons.

Rudolf Bode (1881-1970), German sports pedagogue;
Caroline de la Riva, Spanish dancer; Jack Dempsey (1895-1983), American boxer; David Lloyd George (1863-1945), British statesman; Jenny Hasselquist (1894-1978), Swedish actress; Gerhart Hauptmann (1862-1946), German dramatist; Camilla Horn (1903-96), German dancer and film star of the silent era; Niddy Impekoven (1904-2002), German dancer; Bac Ishii and Konami Ishii, Japanese dancers; La Jana (aka Henriette Hiebel) (1905-40), German dancer; Tamara Karsavina (1886-1978), Russian ballerina; Rocky Knight, American boxer; Rudolf Kobs, German gymnast; Rudolf Laban (1879-1958), Hungarian dancer; Eve Liebenberg, no details available; Bess Mensendieck (1864-1957), American gymnastics educator; Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), Italian politician; Ellen von Cleve-Petz (1899-1970), German ballet dancer; Babe Ruth (1895-1948), American baseball player; Hertha von Walther (1903-87), German actress; Johnny Weismuller (1904-89), American swimmer and actor; Carr Wills, no details available; Helen Wills (1905-98), American tennis player; Peter Wladimiroff, Russian ballet dancer; Mary Wigman and her school (1886-1973), German dancer, choreographer and instructor of dance

FILM REVIEW (DVD)

The film, released on digital versatile disk in 2008, consists of six parts as follows:
Part I:
Ancient Greece and Modern Times (1920s). Overweight people in post-WWI Berlin.
Presentation of everyday life in both periods; mostly focused on the unhealthy habits of smoking, drinking and habitués of night clubs (Berlin) in the 1920s. Speaking highly of the healthy way of living in Ancient Greece, with regular visits to gymnasiums. Too much emphasis on daily body training!

Part II: Body training for health reasons.
Hygienic gymnastics presented by the Berlin-based Neumann-Neurode and Professor Klapp schools. Complete exercises for infants, pre-school, pupils and students. Popular Swedish gymnastics. Limited nudity. Gymnastic exercises based on methods by Rudolf Bode, Niddy Impekoven, Rudolf Laban, Anna-Hermann School of Charlottenburg, Dr. Bess Meschendieck, and Hedwig Hagemann School of Hamburg.

Part III: FKK
This part is missing from the DVD due to unspecified reasons.

Part IV: Dance
Traditional dances from Hawaii, Japan (Bac and Konami Ischii), India (Burma), Bavaria, and Spain. Rudolf-Laban Dance-Drama performed by the Hamburg-based Laban School. Niddy Impekoven in “Das Lebender Blume”; Bac Ishii in the pantomime “The Prisoner”; Jenny Hasselqvist of Stockholm in “The White Rose”; Tamara Karsavina in Delibes’ ballet “Sylvia” together with Peter Wladimiroff; Mary-Wigmann-School in the dance-drama “The Exodus."

Part V: Sports
Discus, high jump, pole vault, 100m run; American runner Charlie Paddock (1900-43), Paddock versus Murehison, Parrit and Carr; H.H. Mayer, 110 hurdles; Rudolf Kobs, the German champion of the 1923 Munich gymnastics tournament, practising on the horizontal bar; pushball, tennis (American player Helen Wills), rowing, swimming, football, springboard diving by Hans Luder of Berlin (1893-1940); fencing technique presented by Olympic champions Aldo (1899-1965) and Nedo Nadi (1894-1940) of Livorno, Italy; American boxer Ricky Knight.

Part VI
Jiu-Jitsu, Henley-regatta, golf, baseball with the American “legend Babe” Ruth (1895-1948) in action. Representation of the medieval “Royal Jump” over five horses by A. Holz, H. Mensel, H. Westerhaus and K. Thiess.
Fresh Air, Sun and Water
Training with wood and iron; hammer throwing; medicine ball; tossing the caber; Johan Peder Müller of Copenhagen (1866-1938), famous Danish gymnastics instructor; Alpine skiing in the Bavarian Alps.
Lord Balfour (1848-1930), British statesman playing tennis; David Loyd George (1863-1945), British statesman, in golf practice; John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937), American industrial and philanthropist; The Norwegian royal family skiing; Gerhart Hauptmann (1862-1946), German dramatist, and his wife on the beach of Rapallo in Italy.
Public baths in Berlin; open-air school in Thuringia; Dance club at Jena; Sunbathing on the Baltic (Danzig) coast; Military drills. Representation of women’s daily cleaning in the Caracalla Public Baths in Rome.

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