Screenplay, Knut Boeser, Schwabenitzky. Camera (color), Gerard Vandeberg; editor, Ingrid Koller; music, Arthur Lauber, Andy Radovan; art direction, Fritz Hollergschwandtner; costumes, Uli Fessler; sound (Dolby), Walter Fiklocki. Reviewed at Alpe Adria Cinema Festival, Trieste, Italy, Jan. 20, 1994. Running time: 95 MIN.
The broad Austrian humor of “Leave Your Husband, Please” won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but pic could have wide appeal in German-lingo markets. Its main drawing card is plump, oft-disrobed actress Elfi Eschke, who sparkles as a rich housewife in search of independence. Veteran TV helmer Reinhard Schwabenitzky puts across an upbeat, upscale message for armchair feminists and voyeurs who like plump figures unclothed.
Eschke is at the beach, photographing herself in the buff, when some boys swipe her clothes and camera. Michael Scheidl ineffectually comes to her rescue, and it’s love at first sight. Years later, she is comfortably married to the richScheidl, who has political ambitions. For poorly fleshed-out reasons, she rebels against being used as a prop in his campaign.
Frothy as chocolate mousse, pic offers a lot of easy laughs. Its unique quality, however, lies in its delightfully unrepressed heroine. Least convincing is comic premise that Eschke’s brazen behavior is capable of shocking the good Austrian bourgeoisie — which, perhaps because of mediocre perfs, doesn’t look all that surprised.
Schwabenitzky’s small-screen experience shows in pic’s fluid storyline and easy-to-identify characters. For once it’s the men who are shallow and boring, while the heroine whoops it up. Lensing is warmly inviting and the Home Beautiful art direction is a middle-class dream.