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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Der Mann, der seinen Mörder sucht" or "Der Himmelskandidat" or "Looking for His Murderer" or "The Man in Search of His Murderer")

 

Directed by Robert Siodmak
Germany 1931

 

Prior to emigrating to the U.S., where he would make such classics as The Spiral Staircase and The Killers, Robert Siodmak took a familiar black comedy premise and transformed it into a diabolical thriller. Heinz Rühmann, employing his trademark persona of the childlike naïf, portrays Hans, a despondent young man who decides to murder himself by hiring a burglar to commit the crime. But when Hans's life takes an unexpected turn for the better, he realizes he must locate and stop the killer before the contract can be fulfilled. Combining morbid comedy with broad slapstick, The Man in Search of His Murderer owes much of its comic sensibilities to screenwriters Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity) and Curt Siodmak (The Wolf Man) who were also soon to leave Germany, to later enjoy fruitful careers in Hollywood.

***

Robert Siodmak's second solo directorial effort was the breathless comedy-melodrama Der Mann, Der Seinen Moerder Sucht (Looking For His Murderer) In the face of ever-mounting debts, Heinz Ruhmann arranges for his own murder to be committed within the next 12 hours. During this period, Ruhmann falls in love and gains a whole new lease on life. Frantically, he seeks out the man whom he has hired to bump him off -- only to find out that the latter has sold his "contract" to another fellow -- who in turn has sold it to a third party. Eventually, the whole mess is wrapped up with a Keystone-like car chase. Famed composer Friedrich Hollander shows up in a minor role, complete with patently phony mustache. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi.

Posters

Theatrical Release: February 5th, 1931

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Review: Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 0:53:00.500        
Video

1.18:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 12,715,037,205 bytes

Feature: 12,588,457,152 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.21 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio German 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.18:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 12,715,037,205 bytes

Feature: 12,588,457,152 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.21 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary by film historian Josh Nelson


Blu-ray Release Date:
April 6th, 2021
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 7

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (March 2021): Kino have transferred Robert Siodmak's The Man in Search of his Murderer to Blu-ray. It starts with a text screen describing a 2013 "restoration by the F. W. Murnau-Stiftung". The image starts out poorly but eventually settles in to look acceptable if far from stellar. There are, predictable, marks and some overly bright sequences. It is in the slightly pillar-boxed 1.18:1 aspect ratio. There is plenty of texture and the 1080P produced a serviceable viewing of this 90-year old film.

NOTE: We have added 60 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Kino use a linear PCM dual-mono track (16-bit) in the original German language. The film's audio quality relate to its original production capabilities and so it is fairly weak with dialogue being somewhat hollow but audible. Music can sounds tinny but also clear with a score by Friedrich Hollaender (The Bride Wore Boots, Bluebeard's Eight Wife, Angel, The Great McGinty, Christmas in Connecticut, Caught, Berlin Express, Background to Danger, The Verdict, A Foreign Affair). Pieces include Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte sung in by Marlene Dietrich and Greta Keller plus Am Montag hab' ich leider keine Zeit!.. It should be noted that the musical director was Franz Waxman (as Franz Wachsmann) composer of film scores including Sorry, Wrong Number, Untamed, Rebecca, Dark Passage, Bride of Frankenstein, Rear Window, Sunset Boulevard etc. He also has a cameo in the film (as mentioned in the commentary.). The comic slide-whistles and "Wah Wah Wah"'s seem awkward at times but its is fairly clear without undue hiss or 'pops'. Kino offer optional English (SDH) or standard English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

The Kino Blu-ray offers a new commentary by Australian-born Josh Nelson. He explains the dual-title of the film, the 'Siodmak touch' and the director's notable classic Noirs, that the film hasn't been discussed much - a mere footnote in cinema history, the humor of the film being ahead of its time, the Siodmak brothers work in People on Sunday with Edgar G. Ulmer, Fred Zinnemann, Billy Wilder and the latter's writing for The Man in Search of his Murderer as well as much more. He quotes from written sources like Ed Sikov's "On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder" and others, he discusses how Franz Waxman was given his big break by Friedrich Hollaender detailing their relationship as colleagues, comparisons of Heinz Rühmann to Harold Lloyd and more. Nelson keeps a good pace and is well-prepared. I enjoyed listening to him.   

Robert Siodmak's The Man in Search of his Murderer is very interesting. It is really based on the Jules Verne's adventure novel Tribulations of a Chinaman in China about a bored wealthy man who pays someone to murder him, in the case of the book; before his life insurance expires - simply for the thrill. There have been many film adaptations since (and before.) I did appreciate the darker aspects of the story more than the more humorous ones. Being directed by Siodmak - this is a film I am very happy to own on Kino Blu-ray with the educational commentary. Wonderful stuff - recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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