Der zerbrochene Krug (1937)

(The Broken Jug)

Directed by: Gustav Ucicky
Produced by: Karl Julius Fritzsche
Fritz Klotsch
Written by: Heinrich von Kleist (play)
Thea von Harbou
Music by: Wolfgang Zeller
Cinematography: Fritz Arno Wagner
Edited by: Arnfried Heyne
Production company: Tobis Film
Distributed by: Tobis Film
Release dates: 19 October 1937
Running time: 86 minutes
Country: Germany
Language: German


Emil Jannings: Adam, the village judge
Friedrich Kayßler: Walter, Judiciary
Max Gülstorff: Licht, Schreiber
Lina Carstens: Marthe Rull
Angela Salloker: Eva Rull, her daughter
Bruno Hübner: Veit ponds, farmers’
Paul Dahlke: Ruprecht pond, his son
Elisabeth Flickenschildt: Brigitte
Walter Werner: A servant
Erich Dunskus: Büttel
Gisela von Collande: Grethe, maid
Lotte Rausch: Liese, maid
Käthe Kamossa: Villager


The Broken Jug (German:Der zerbrochene Krug) is a 1937 German historical comedy film directed by Gustav Ucicky and starring Emil Jannings, Friedrich Kayßler and Max Gülstorff. It is an adaptation of the play The Broken Jug by Heinrich von Kleist. The film was popular with Adolf Hitler.

The Broken Jug mocks the failings of human nature and the judicial system in a forgiving way. It is similar to Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus the King (c. 429 BCE), in that in both plays the judge is guilty, but different insofar as Adam knows from the start who is guilty, as does the audience, and is trying his hardest to conceal the truth.

The play follows the story of “Adam” and “Eve”. Adam is covered in various injuries and talking with his secretary Licht. The jug is not mentioned in these first five scenes although the audience is made aware that Adam is a highly suspicious character. The trial lasting from scene seven through to scene eleven, shows the characters on stage trying to piece together the events which led to the breaking of the jug. At the end of scene eleven Eve states that Adam broke the jug and Adam escapes in the confusion.

Der zerbrochene Krug

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