|Mack The Knife and Polly Peachum|
I really hate Bertholt Brecht and unfortunately this was largely his musical on the stage. Luckily Pabst was able to mostly cut from Brecht’s play and create a real film of his own. Nevertheless, plenty of Brechtian distancing, or as I call it poison in the cinematic well, made it’s way into the film. If you are expecting a musical, it’s not. If you are expecting the stage play, it’s not. What you get is the story of Mack The Knife and how along with Polly Peachum went from a lowly gangster and the daughter of a grifter to owning a bank and taking advantage of the poor in true capitalist fashion. In between, you get that early 1930’s German cinematic look broken up by a sparse set of strange musical numbers, characters, and plot that are never quite engaging. Instead they push you away.
It might not be god awful for everyone, but it’s close enough for me. Approach this one with caution.