- 1 hr 26 min
Verboten! is a 1959 war drama film directed by Samuel Fuller, starring James Best, Susan Cummings, and Tom Pittman. The film follows a young American soldier stationed in Germany who falls in love with a German woman, sparking a series of events that ultimately lead to tragedy. The film is set in the aftermath of World War II, with Allied forces occupying Germany. James Best plays Sergeant David Brent, a soldier who is tasked with patrolling the area around the Wannsee Dam. One day, while on patrol, he meets a young German woman named Helga Schiller (Susan Cummings). Despite the cultural divide between them, the two fall in love and begin a secret romance. However, their love is threatened by the political tensions of the time. Helga's brother Franz (Tom Pittman) is a member of the Werwolf, a group of Nazi loyalists who are fighting against the Allied occupation. When Franz discovers his sister's relationship with a American soldier, he threatens to reveal their secret. Meanwhile, tensions between the occupying forces and the local German population are escalating. The Werwolf begin launching guerrilla attacks on Allied troops, and the Americans respond with increasing brutality. As Brent struggles to keep his relationship with Helga a secret, he begins to question the morality of the American occupation and the behavior of his fellow soldiers. The film is notable for its portrayal of both American and German characters in a complex, nuanced way. While the Werwolf are clearly presented as villains, the film also shows the hypocrisy and brutality of the American soldiers, who are shown using excessive force and mistreating German civilians. Throughout the film, Brent is forced to confront his own biases and preconceptions about the German people, coming to realize that they are not all Nazis and that they are capable of love and humanity. Verboten! is also notable for its use of location shooting in Germany. The film was shot on location in Berlin and other parts of Germany, giving it an authenticity and realism that is rare for a Hollywood film of the time. The film also features a number of scenes set in the actual Wannsee Dam, which adds to the sense of verisimilitude. Overall, Verboten! is a powerful and thought-provoking film that explores themes of love, war, and cultural conflict in a nuanced and complex way. It is a testament to the skill of director Samuel Fuller and the talented cast, particularly James Best, who gives a moving and nuanced performance as a soldier struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of war. While the film may not be well-known today, it remains an important work of cinema that deserves to be rediscovered by a new generation of film lovers.