Murderers Are Among Us, The

Director: Wolfgang Staudte

1946. English subtitles. Black and white. 85 mins.

The dominant German movie genre of the immediate post-war years was the so-called Trummerfilme, or ‘rubble films’-works shot in ruined cities and marked by the self-pity of a defeated people. The first post-war feature and the mother of rubble films was Wolfgang Staudte’s The Murderers Are Among Us, whose crew was dominated by veterans of the Nazi industry. Hildegard Knef (described as ‘the thinking man’s Marlene Dietrich’) plays a concentration camp survivor who returns to her Berlin apartment to find it occupied by an alcoholic surgeon. He’s obsessed with killing a war criminal; she restores his sanity and persuades him to give up his revenge. Staudte mixes images of shadowy expressionism and documentary verisimilitude to good effect, and the film emerges as a sombre meditation on guilt and the need for some kind of justice to be done in relation to war crimes.

Book Tickets