Emil and the Detectives

More urchins in the streets. More spines to stare at and very stroke-worthy they are too. I have to admit to brief moments of book stroking and general admiring of the simple and beautiful cover designs of some oldies that recently arrived at Bookwitch Towers.

Erich Kästner, Emil and the Detectives

Plenty of urchins where the New Cut Gang came from. Or not, since they roamed Victorian London, and we are now in 1930s Berlin in the company of Erich Kästner’s young detectives.

Here I have to admit to more strange behaviour. The witch family became Emil experts a few years ago when Son needed some project to do in German. He picked the Emil and the Detectives films, of which there are three. All in German, and by that I mean they weren’t subtitled. Very educational.

We started with the modern one, where Emil had been updated. It worked surprisingly well. The older films, from the 1930s and the 1950s were worryingly similar, although that was to do with the same script (?) being used for both.

Anyway, we have seen poor Emil lose his money over and over again. He really needs to learn to be more careful with money. And then comes Emil’s meeting with the Berlin urchins, and their subsequent hunting of the baddie and the lost money, followed by their triumphant success.

Erich Kästner’s own illustrations make this new version of Emil and the Detectives doubly attractive. The translation is from 1959, and it has translated the money into pounds, which feels slightly strange to me. You lose both the sense of foreign-ness (possibly a good thing in those days) and any sense of how much money Emil has lost when the £7 disapppear.

But its a marvellous story, which always feels fresh – in a historical, retro sort of way. (There were, as I’ve said before, more books in a similar style and setting, but it’s as if Emil is the sole representative of German books from that era in Britain.)

9 responses to “Emil and the Detectives

  1. I never read Emil and the Detectives, but I remember the Disney television version with great fondness.

    It’s odd seeing the same ad on your and Dorte’s blog. It doesn’t seem all that related to either of your enterprises. Although I did stop at minute 1:03, so it’s possible I missed something.

  2. You’re right about the money. If you lost £7 today, you’d certainly feel a bit stupid. But it would hardly lead to a caper!

  3. Seana, we don’t see the ads as blog owners. I am always shocked by what it looks like on other people’s computers. It ruins the look, I feel.
    What did you watch?

  4. What ad? I don’t see any. Love Emil. But you’re right. Not enough books in translation.

  5. Do you not see any ads, ever? I keep forgetting they turn up, as I don’t see them, but I do come across ads on other people’s blogs. Except, I don’t see them on WordPress blogs, and presumably that’s because I’m on there as another Wp user. Your blog uses Wp, too. And if Seana sees an ad on Dorte’s blog, where I never see any, that suggests it’s because of the blogging tool.

  6. I don’t see any ads. *narrows eyes a little* I hope you don’t see any on mine, as they are disabled. I’ve just realised that sounds all wrong, as though I have something against disabled ads…

  7. Yes, I saw one that was four minutes long, and started out with two crazy guys who were apparently going to a house party. I’ve never seen an ad on either your or Dorte’s blog before, so I thought maybe we were entering a new era. However it’s not here tonight, so I don’t really know what the rotation is.

    I’m not complaining–I just found it all a bit confusing.

  8. Pingback: German Literature Month 2011: Author Index « Lizzy’s Literary Life

  9. Pingback: Erich und Lisa, and Paul and Matt, too. | Bookwitch

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