Retrospektive 2018

Among The Living

Stuart Heisler
USA 1941
67 min

Stuart Heisler ist einer der großen Unterschätzten Hollywoods, eine Neubewertung wäre längst angebracht. Sein Southern-Gothic-Zwillings-Thriller AMONG THE LIVING beeindruckt durch uneitle inszenatorische Eleganz: Durch ein eisernes Tor beobachtet die Bevölkerung das Begräbnis eines Patriarchen; der nervenkranke Sohn wird durch den Garten geschleift, um die properen Beerdigungsgäste nicht in Verlegenheit zu bringen; allmählich verwandelt sich das Anwesen in ein Labyrinth aus Schatten. Der Film endet mit einer geschickten Hommage an Fritz Langs M, nachdem Heisler zuvor bereits mit Intelligenz und Witz Verweise auf James Whales FRANKENSTEIN eingeflochten hat.



AMONG THE LIVING is a prime piece of Southern Gothic about twins, one who left town long ago, returning only for their father’s funeral, while the other was secretly locked away in the family mansion after being driven mad by their mother’s screams for help. The latter will soon walk among the people of his town, a creature too sensitive for a world where violence seems second nature, and a mob the preferred way of community. One can only marvel at Stuart Heisler’s genius. How elegantly he introduces a theme that would come to dominate his œuvre, as evidenced by eg. THE BISCUIT EATER (1940), THE NEGRO SOLDIER (1944) or STORM WARNING (1951): that of worlds divided (townsfolk having to watch the funeral through an iron-wrought gate; the mad son being shushed away into the mansion’s vast garden so as to not embarrass the Decent People congregated for the burial); the way the estate is turned into a maze of shadows more than light; his interest in women that will later carry masterpieces like SMASH-UP: THE STORY OF A WOMAN (1947) or THE STAR (1952); all ending with a deft tribute to Fritz Lang’s M after having taken a clue or two before from James Whale’s FRANKENSTEIN (both 1931), with sharp intelligence and wit. (Olaf Möller)


  • Albert Dekker - Big Jim Colfax
  • Harry Carey
  • Ernest Whitman
  • Susan Hayward
  • Jean Phillips
  • Frances Farmer
  • Gordon Jones
  • Lester Cole
  • Brian Marlow
  • Garrett Fort
  • Theodor Sparkuhl
  • Gerard Carbonara
Paramount Pictures
16 mm
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