Saturday, 11 April 2009

Maria Landrock

M. Laruelle glanced somewhat ironically at a garish three-sheet of a German film star, though the features seemed carefully Spanish hanging behind the bar:La Simpatiquisima y encantadora Maria Landrock notable artista alemana que pronto habremos de ver en sensacional Film Under The Volcano This reference to Maria Landrock poses a problem as to which film Lowry is referring to. He can only mean a few possible films made by Landrock during roughly the time frame of the writing of Under The Volcano. The film could be Paul Verhoeven's Aus erster Ehe (1940); Die keusche Geliebte; Aufruhr im Damenstift (1941) but most likely Veit Harlan's Pedro soll hangen (1939-41).

In Under The Volcano, Lowry calls the German actress Maria Landrock "engimatic" which may refer to her playing a Mexican woman Pepita in Veit Harlan's Pedro soll hangen and the fact that her features appear "Spanish". Surely, Lowry could not have seen either film in Mexico before beginning Under The Volcano? If he is referring to the Pedro soll hangen film then it was not released until 1941 and begs the question where he saw the film. He could have either seen the mention of the film in a US trade magazine while in Canada in 1941 or saw the film on his 1945 visit to Mexico.

Maria Landrock apparently only acted in Pedro soll hangen as replacement for director Veit Harlan's wife Kristina Söderbaum who was taken ill during the production of the film.

Veit Harlan was a pro-Nazi propagandist who made the sickening Jud Süß in 1940. After the war, Lowry may have become aware of Harlan's Nazi sympathies. Maybe the mention of Harlan's film was a subtle allusion to the horrors of the war similar to the way he had used Hands Of Orlac as a cinematic metaphor for the same horrors.

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