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Josh Steinberg

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F.P.1 Doesn’t Answer is a bit of aviation futurepast coming out of pre-WWII Germany at the dawn of the sound era.  Like some other films of the time, F.P.1 was filmed simultaneously in different German, English and French language versions for worldwide release.  Kino’s new edition generously provides both German and English versions, making for an interesting comparison.



F.P.1 antwortet nicht (1932)



Released: 22 Dec 1932
Rated: N/A
Runtime: 114 min




Director: Karl Hartl
Genre: Sci-Fi



Cast: Hans Albers, Sybille Schmitz, Paul Hartmann
Writer(s): Walter Reisch, Curt Siodmak



Plot: Urged by famous airman Ellissen the Lennartz Company puts into reality the project proposed by his friend Droste: F.P.1, a huge floating platform in the Atlantic that makes long-distance flights viable. Ellissen is in love with compa...

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Mark Mayes

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I'm a big fan of Sybille Schmitz and an even bigger fan of Conrad Veidt. After viewing this disc and comparing both versions, I have to admit to preferring Jill Esmond to Schmitz and Albers to Veidt.

Albers go-get-em enthusiasm as the pilot worked better to me. Veidt was more elegant and less dare-devil. It's strange that he wasn't simply the lead in both, though. He did both versions of "Congress Dances". His English is,however, noticeably less polished than it was by, say, "Dark Victory."
Esmond was translucent. Schmitz was very good, but the chemistry with Albers never seemed strong.

I haven't heard the commentary yet, but I'll be curious as to whether the versions are compared and contrasted by the commentator.
 

bujaki

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I'm a big fan of Sybille Schmitz and an even bigger fan of Conrad Veidt. After viewing this disc and comparing both versions, I have to admit to preferring Jill Esmond to Schmitz and Albers to Veidt.

Albers go-get-em enthusiasm as the pilot worked better to me. Veidt was more elegant and less dare-devil. It's strange that he wasn't simply the lead in both, though. He did both versions of "Congress Dances". His English is,however, noticeably less polished than it was by, say, "Dark Victory."
Esmond was translucent. Schmitz was very good, but the chemistry with Albers never seemed strong.

I haven't heard the commentary yet, but I'll be curious as to whether the versions are compared and contrasted by the commentator.
The Bette Davis version of Dark Victory?
 

Mark Mayes

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The Bette Davis version of Dark Victory?
Dark Journey...shameful for a VL fan like me! To be fair, this does feature prominently in my living room....
 

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Bert Greene

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These vintage futuristic, techno-industrial themed sci-fi films, like "Transatlantic Tunnel" (1935), "High Treason" (1929), "Things to Come" (1936), and such, were always rather intriguing to me. I'd always intended to get around to "F.P.1 Doesn't Answer" (1932), as the English-language version has bounced around for years, but I kept hearing of the prints being rather poor (making me envision those raggedy prints of "The Ghoul" and "Deluge" before better copies came to light), and I feared it would make things a bit of a slog. Really nifty that Kino Classics could release it in top-notch quality, with the added advantage of being able to observe the differences between the English and German-language versions. Wish more of these alternate-language oddities of the pre-dubbing, early-talkie period survived, because they can be curiously fascinating, noting the different little quirks between them.

In some ways, despite the widely varying running-times (78 minutes vs. 112), the two versions were a little more similar than I expected. Pacing being the biggest factor. Both leading men, Conrad Veidt and Hans Albers, seemed a bit too long-in-the-tooth to be portraying a devil-may-care flyboy adventurer. Such a role (in my mind) seems to call for a younger guy, a zippy wiseacre in the mold of maybe a 1932-vintage Chester Morris. But maybe that's just because I've been so teethed on American films and their brand of protagonists, especially in the early aviation genre. The leading-ladies here were different, with Jill Esmond pleasantly bright and starry-eyed, and Sybille Schmitz more sensual and low-key. Both different, but both quite good and effective in their own ways. Enjoyed Peter Lorre in the German version. Cast-wise, the only surprise for me was seeing Leslie Fenton in the British version, as I never knew he did any continental fare, only associating him with low-budget American indies in the 1930s.

But anyway, the main interest for me in these kinds of movies is the modernistic set decor and little sci-fi trappings. Dramatically, these types of films are invariably a little on the clunky side. Anyway, it's a nice release, and I enjoyed the informative commentary as well.
 

PaulaJ

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I was thrilled with this release but what's the story with the French version with Charles Boyer as Elliessen? Is it no longer extant? No restored version? Couldn't fit on the disc? Is it available anywhere?

The production design and SFX are truly jaw-dropping.
 

Josh Steinberg

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These vintage futuristic, techno-industrial themed sci-fi films, like "Transatlantic Tunnel" (1935), "High Treason" (1929), "Things to Come" (1936), and such, were always rather intriguing to me.

Ive never seen Transatlantic Tunnel or High Treason but they sound intriguing - are they available on DVD or anything?
 

Bert Greene

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Ive never seen Transatlantic Tunnel or High Treason but they sound intriguing - are they available on DVD or anything?
I don't really know it they are officially out there right now. Probably not, although maybe there's a region-B release of "High Treason." I've been surprised at some of the things that have made it out on dvd over there. Rare oddities like "Children of Chance" (1930) and such. I do know that vastly better prints of both TT and HT are now around, compared to twenty years ago. Back in the 1980s, I believe it was thought that "Transatlantic Tunnel" had fallen into public domain, but that apparently proved not the case. TCM ran a pretty nice print some years back.
 

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