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Frau Holle (Mrs. Holle)

1963, East Germany, 59 minutes, color
Director: Gottfried Kolditz
Screenplay: GŁnter Kaltofen, Gottfried Kolditz
Director of Photography: Erich Gusko
Music: Joachim Dietrich Link
Actors: Mathilde Danegger (Mrs. Holle), Karin Ugowski (Goldmarie), Katharina Lind (Pechmarie), Elfriede Florin (Widow)
Based on the tale by the Brothers Grimm
VHS-PAL, no subtitles
- renting information


The widow has an ugly and lazy daughter, Pechmarie, and a beautiful and hard-working step-daughter, Goldmarie.  Because Pechmarie is her real daughter, the widow clearly favors her and makes Goldmarie do all the work.  Poor Goldmarie must also sit and spin all day by the well until her fingers bleed.  When she tries to rinse out the spindel, it drops into the cold water.  Her unsympathetic step-mother tells her to jump in after it.  Goldmarie does as she is told, and then wakes up in the middle of a beautiful field of flowers.  This is the land of Frau Holle, who welcomes Goldmarie and invites her to stay, as long as she will help with the housework.  Marie stays and serves Frau Holle gladly, until she suffers so terribly from homesickness that she asks to go home. Before bringing her back, Frau Holle rewards Marie with a shower of gold. 

Upon her return, Goldmarie and her gold are welcomed by her greedy step-sister and -mother.  Hoping for the same kind of reward, the step-mother sends Pechmarie to find Frau Holle.  Unfortunately, Pechmarie is lazy and doesn't want to work for Frau Holle, despite the thought of her gold reward.  After three days, Frau Holle has enough of her, and sends her back home.  Rather than gold, Pechmarie is showed with tar, which she can never wash off.

The sparse but colorful set makes this film more like a fairy tale than do the more complicated special effects of the 1980's fairy tale films;  the opening credits, printed on the pages of a picture book, intensify the reference.  Indeed, much of the set seems to be made of paper and paper mache!  While the visual effects and songs draw in the younger viewers, the focus on every-day activities, as well as Marie's industriousness, make clear the lesson to learn.  Cheerfully received by critics, and presumably most popular with the youngest viewers, this version of Frau Holle is a colorful and loyal interpretation of the Grimms' original. 


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