Via Mala
1945

Via Mala

Via Mala (Original Title)

This rare gem, the upload of a very old TV recording is one of Germany's most powerful crime mysteries though that's a slightly misleading description because the focus is on the horror a family on a sawmill in a mountain gorge suffers from the hands of the father, a drunkard who beats everybody in sight. Then the film describes the attempt by all to forget the whole affair which proves quite impossible since the pretty young daughter Silvelie marries the man who begins to conduct an investigation into the case.
Though officially released 1948 this is a Third Reich film, but it was seen as too depressing in mood, some changes were ordered in the ending. The film was shortly released in April 1945 and quite immediately banned again.
It's quite easy to see why this film was deemed too pessimistic since the first 25 minutes are among the most oppressive in any pre-1960 film, tinged with fear and violence and appropriately staged by Baky who used his location and set design (Walter Röhrig) to full effect with low angles (camera: Carl Hoffmann) and imaginative blocking as you can see in the caps. The film can't hold this level, but it's nevertheless one of the lost gems of film history.

1h 48min
March 23, 1945
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