Uncle Krüger

Uncle Krüger

Ohm Krüger (Original Title)

Starring Emil Jannings as Ohm Krueger and costing over 5,4 Million Reichsmark to produce, this was the second-most expensive film put together during this time period in Germany. This drama tells the story of British mishandling of the Afrikaaner in South Africa during the Boer War (1899-1902), including the rounding up and interning of Britain's enemies in concentration camps, the first nation in the world to use such camps. Ohm Krueger tries (unsuccessfully) to drum up support for the struggle of his people against the British and to show the world how people are being mistreated by the English army during the war.

Admin comments

It's a brilliant piece of film making. Emil Jannings plays a stout and resolute Kruger who fought as the head of his Boer people for the life of the two Boer Republics, his own Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Needless to say, Jannings' performance is monumental as indeed it is intended to be. The scene where he resists being bribed by Rhodes is especially effective. The cast is superlative. Gustaf Grundgens as Joseph Chamberlain (a dead ringer for Bertie Wooster!) Ferdinand Marian as a sinister, white-suited Cecil Rhodes, and Otto Wernicke as the camp commandment. There is a very touching performance by Gisela Uhlen as Kruger's daughter-in-law.

The battle scenes and the scenes of the Boers mobilizing as a nation to fight tyranny from abroad are impressive from a technical standpoint. You'll find yourself asking how in the world they were able to film some of the massive battle scenes when they were deep into WW2!

Anti-English propaganda in the film is taken too far and I believe it was a mistake from a political perspective. Brits are presented as violent and exploitative, and enemies to civilization. You don’t depict your Arian brothers like that. By the way, the term concentration camps was invented and applied by the British in that war.


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