Truus van Aalten

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See Truus!

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Here's a short film which includes clips from Der Sonderling (the film in which Truus co-starred with Karl Valentin).


This wonderful piece of news film shows Truus shooting a scene for Jenny's Bummel durch die Männer on Scheveningen Pier in 1929. We're very grateful to the Netherlands Institute for Sound & Vision for allowing us to use it. Their website address is: http://portal.beeldengeluid.nl.


Truus' trademark instinct for mischief sparkles in 1930's "Pension Schöller".


Here are some sequences from one of Truus' last films, Teilnehmer antwortet nicht ("That Number Doesn't Answer"), from 1932.


This film shows Truus in Liebling der Götter with Emil Jannings.


When the German film "Kopfüber ins Glück" was filmed in 1931, a French version was shot on the same sets - a fairly common way of cutting costs then. Starring Jean Gabin and Gaby Basset, "Chacun ca Chance" has a scene where a boss is showing his staff how to serve customers. One of the salesgirls laughs at the wrong moment, earning a furious glare - but she won't be put in her place, pulling a face which shows that she thinks the boss is a complete idiot. It's Truus, of course, popping up in just one scene.


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Very few of Truus' films have ever been released for home viewing. One possible reason is that the Russian Army seized the Ufa studios in April 1945 and appropriated the contents - including copies of a huge number of German films that have never been seen since.

*Ausflug ins Leben exists as a restored print in the Nederlands Filmmuseum.

*Der Bettelstudent: The Dutch Filmuseum ran a print for audiences during 1983.

*Ein Ganzer Kerl: The Dutch Filmuseum ran a print for audiences during 1983, and in Washington DC the Library Of Congress has a viewable 16mm print (FDA 1334-1335). The website filmhauer.net sells a DVD of this film too. Ganzer Kerl and G'schichten aus dem Wienerwald ran on an East German TV channel at least once before the Wall came down. Old films were shown in the hopes that viewers in the West would stay tuned after they ended and watch Communist propaganda programmes. Nobody particularly cared what condition the prints were in, either - G'schichten... was transmitted with the end of the film completely missing!

*Geheime Macht: there's a print in the Nederlands Filmmuseum, and the Library Of Congress has a 16mm print (FCA 8304-8305).

*Liebling der Götter: a DVD of just-about acceptable quality can be bought from the American company http://www.germanvideo.com - no subtitles

*Die lustigen Vagabunden: The Dutch Filmuseum ran a print for audiences during 1983.

*Het meisje met den blauwen hoed: there's a DVD available through the Internet - try http://www.bol.com, a Dutch company, or Ebay.

*Pension Schöller: The US Library Of Congress have a 16mm print (FDA 2162-2163). The German company filmhauer.net sell a DVD (in Europe's PAL TV format).

*Die Selige Exzellenz was shown at the 2006 Silent Film Festival in Bonn, so there's a print of it out there somewhere.

*Der Sonderling: The Dutch Filmuseum ran a print for audiences during 1983. Easier to get at, an excellent DVD is available from http://www.amazon.de (Germany), part of a 3-disc box set, Karl Valentin & Liesl Karlstadt - Die Spielfilme. Its catalogue number is Film 101 MOK 9007.

*Susanne macht Ordnung: Library Of Congress 16mm print (FDA 1386-1387). This Library Of Congress info was discovered by film researcher (and longterm Truus fan) Rich Finegan. But why are old German films held in an American library? "At the end of WWII, a substantial number of films were confiscated in Germany, Italy, and Japan," a Reference Librarian in their Moving Image Section says. "These were eventually deposited in the National Archive and the Library of Congress. Although it's somewhat unclear how the films were divided between the institutions, generally, theatrical entertainment films are more likely to be found at the LoC, and actuality films are more likely to be at the National Archives. Public laws returned the film copyrights to their original owners (or successors) in 1963 and gave the LoC screening privileges and permanent custody of prints. LoC worked with film archives in Germany, Italy, and Japan to return the original nitrate copies in exchange for 16mm safety reference prints. Our German Collection contains approximately 1,000 silent and sound features (1919-1945); over 1,000 newsreels; and numerous educational, entertainment, documentary and propaganda shorts." The Library's instructions for visiting/viewing can be found at http://www.loc.gov/rr/mopic/mpguide.html

The German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) in Koblenz has a 35mm print.

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A print of "Susanne..." was shown in late 2012 at the Eva cinema in Berlin's Blissestrasse - a big "danke schön!" our friend Daniel van Waalwijk, who sent us these photos. (Click to enlarge.)

*Teilnehmer antwortet nicht: A DVD (in Europe's PAL TV format) of reasonable quality can be bought from the filmhauer.net website.

I've been warned that DVDs bought from a company called germanwarfilms.com have been very disappointing.

*Truus bought an 8mm camera in the 1930s. Four reels of her films have survived, and are now in EYE Film Institut, the Dutch film museum in Amsterdam. Dating between 1934 and '37, they show Truus and her friends in off-duty hours, on the German holiday island of Rügen for winter sports, in Holland, on a trip to America in '36, etc - scenes now tinged with melancholy, knowing what the future was soon to bring Truus - and Germany.

*Two films made much later which give a good impression of the times Truus lived in: Cabaret (directed by Bob Fosse, starring Liza Minnelli and Michael York) is set in Berlin in the early 1930s and explores the nightclub scene during the rise of the Nazis. Black Book (directed by Paul Verhoeven, starring Carice van Houten) tells the story of a girl living in occupied Holland during the war. It brilliantly captures the dilemma of hating your enemy but having to survive under his rule as well.


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