Review: ‘Verboten!’

The photographic record of Nazi atrocities which Samuel Fuller has incorporated in Verboten! is timeless horror and piercing documentation of the low point in modern history. Fuller wrote, produced and directed the film and has created an interesting picture of a German city in the first days of US occupation following World War II.

The photographic record of Nazi atrocities which Samuel Fuller has incorporated in Verboten! is timeless horror and piercing documentation of the low point in modern history. Fuller wrote, produced and directed the film and has created an interesting picture of a German city in the first days of US occupation following World War II.

The initial scenes build a troubled romance between a warm GI (James Best) and a sympathetic German girl (Susan Cummings), with the latter part of the film being devoted to the thought-provoking resurgence of the Hitler youth into a ‘Werewolf’ band – a kind of ersatz ratpack – which loots, kills, aids escaped war criminals and generally poses intolerable trouble to the American Military Government. Key to the band’s destruction is the girls’ 15-year-old brother, a member of the gang, who becomes disillusioned upon attending the Nuremberg War Criminal Trials and seeing the captured German film of Nazi horrors.

Fuller’s production is excellent, having the look and feel of a film more costly than it likely was. His direction is good, often excellent, and his cast responds adeptly. Best is forceful in his determination to love in the days when it, as so many things, was forbidden. Cummings is very good throughout, growing steadily with the film coming across expertly in the final sequences. The late Tom Pittman has introductory billing in the film, and, as the leader of the wild youth, showed fine style and sound talent.

Verboten!

Production

Globe/RKO. Director Samuel Fuller; Producer Samuel Fuller; Screenplay Samuel Fuller; Camera Joseph Biroc; Editor Philip Cahn; Music Harry Sukman; Art Director John Mansbridge

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1959. Running time: 86 MIN.

With

James Best Susan Cummings Tom Pittman Paul Dubov Harold Daye Dick Kallman

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