Tuesday, December 21, 2010

East Germany's "Heißer Sommer" a.k.a. The Communist Frankie + Annette (now this is just weird)

Heißer Sommer (Hot Summer) was made in 1968, just a couple years behind the Beach Party movies. But it follows the same basic formula, has a similar plot, and similar songs. The only differences are that Hot Summer is in German...and has all the evil capitalism and individualism taken out.

It was really weird. I never knew until last night that they made mind-smushing entertainment behind the iron curtain!? Clearly, this proves that mind-smushing entertainment is a universal genre that doesn't get enough credit. ;-D

The title song: I decided to stream this movie through Netflix (I currently have a 1 month free trial that I may have to continue...haha), because it was in my "suggested films". This is the beginning of the movie. I was completely mesmerized.

This is going to be stuck in my head forever. And I can't even pronounce any of the words!

Here is another song from the beginning of the film, when the girls and the guys are both trying to hitchhike to the Baltic Sea, the girls are having a bit more success than the guys though. (It ALWAYS works this way in mind-smushingdom. ;-D)

Watching this movie was equal parts fascinating and just WEIRD. Hot Summer valiantly tried to show the complete awesomeness and coolness of collectivism and communism. It really did try.

This is where the marked difference between Hot Summer and AIP films shows up. In the Beach Party movies, it is not only important, but NECESSARY to be independent and original and "your own person". But, in Hot Summer individualism is decidedly frowned upon. The character in Hot Summer who causes all the conflict is the girl who constantly states: "I do what I want and I want what I do". In the end her shockingly selfish behavior is shown as a divisive and destructive life-style.

Also: in Hot Summer, the characters stay in groups. There are the girls and the guys (who eventually combine into one awesome, beach-going, communist family ;-D), and they do not leave from their respective groups. They travel together, work together, eat together, sleep together. They do it all for a common goal, not allowing themselves to be side-tracked by an uncooperative "individual's" personal problems. Near the end a member of the guy's group decides to leave and set-out on his own, he is then told that he is taking the "coward's way out". (He ends up coming back to the group approximately thirty minutes after he leaves it, soo...;-D)

I think Hot Summer is a fascinating perspective on East Germany in 60's, and the whole concept of socialism and the collectivist life.

But, besides all these profound, and fascinatingly historical pieces of Hot Summer, it is also completely entertaining. The songs are brilliant. And the choreography is kinda way more awesome than most AIP stuff. Of course, when they danced...THEY ALL DANCED TOGETHER. It was sort of like West Side Story.

Except, of course this is more like East Side Story....heh heh heh (I'VE BEEN WAITING TO USE THAT JOKE THIS ENTIRE POST, OKAY! ;-D)

The clothes and hairstyles were decidedly cool and 60's and scenery was beautiful (it was particularly interesting seeing a bit of Berlin at the beginning, a Berlin that was not yet crumbling around itself).

I would recommend Hot Summer to anyone. Whether you are interested in the history, or the 60ishness, or just the brilliant mind-smushingness.

 The German Frankie + Annette. ;-D



KC said...

Ah, thanks for this. I've had this in my queue a while, but there's so much stuff to watch that I'd forgotten about it. Looks fantastic.

KC said...

By the way--there actually is a movie called East Side Story! It's a documentary about communist musicals. It's been years since I've seen it, but I think they even had a clip from this flick in it. I remember the girl with the short hair: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119040/

kate gabrielle said...

hehe East Side Story :D

I think it's hilarious that the last film you watched had too many Pepsi ads, and this one was totally anti-commercialism. Like polar opposites in the realm of mind smushing films ;-D

Kaley said...

60s musical + fascinating political undertones? Yes, please! This is now in my netflix queue.

Millie said...

KC: You'll have to let me know how you like it. It certainly is an experience! ;-D

AHAHAHAHAHA! This is completely amazing. I definitely have to go watch that documentary now. Thanks for the info!

Kate: I thought it was amusing. ;-D

That's so true. I didn't even think about that. What one needs is a balance (like say Gidget Goes Hawaiian! ;-P).

Kaley: Yaya! It should be a cool sub-genre of its own. haha.

Thanks for your comment! :-D

QUB English Society said...

East Side Story...genius, Millie. ;-P

Okay, that opening sequence kind of scared me, but the clothes are cool.

I really need to go on the lookout for the Beach Party movies.

(One of the bad things about a leprechaun-a lot of classic movies are only on Region 1 disc! Darn it!)

monty said...

Thanks Millie...now I've got that song in my head and I will be humming it all day long. It is very catchy. Weird, but fun. Thanks for sharing.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...


Sarah Mann said...

from the 60s
LATE 60s at that

I must see this. MUST.


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