ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S ‘MARNIE.’ (1964) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

MARNIE. (1964) BASED ON THE 1961 BOOK BY WINSTON GRAHAM. DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES. DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK. MUSIC BY BERNARD HERRMANN. CINEMATOGRAPHY BY ROBERT BURKS.

STARRING TIPPI HEDREN, SEAN CONNERY, LOUISE LATHAM, DIANE BAKER, BRUCE DERN, MARTIN GABEL AND MARIETTE HARTLEY.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘You Freud, me Jane?’

‘If you tell my Momma about me, I’ll kill you.’

‘We don’t talk smart about the Bible in this house, missy.’

‘Why don’t you love me, Momma? I’ve always wondered why you don’t.’

‘… always pulling her skirt down over her knees as if they were some sort of national treasure…!’

Ah, now this is the stuff. This has long been one of my favourite Hitchcock movies, although it never seems to receive as much attention as, say, PSYCHO or THE BIRDS. It’s every bit as good, though.

It’s a sort of psycho-sexual thriller rather than an outright horror (Hitchcock himself went to great lengths to bill it as a sex mystery, no doubt to give it some extra clout at the box-office), and I have great memories of watching it in the middle of the night during Christmases past, the usual time for the screening of old Hitchcock movies on television, both now and then.

I love the story of how Hitchcock’s first choice for the plum role of Marnie, Princess Grace of Monaco, was discouraged from taking the role by her new subjects in the principality of Monaco.

Apparently, they didn’t want their new Princess playing ‘a sexually disturbed thief’ who gets raped into the bargain. Well, I suppose that that wouldn’t have been too good for the old squeaky clean image, haha.

Some people do maintain, though, that Grace Kelly and Cary Grant would have been better choices for the roles of Marnie and her adversary/husband Mark Rutland than Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. I disagree.

Tippi Hedren was the perfect choice, and she more than justified any faith placed in her. And would Cary Grant have been able to rape his screen bride in the same shockingly decisive way that Sean Connery does it? I don’t know.

I know Cary Grant had his more serious roles- SUSPICION, for one- and I’m not for one moment implying that he was only suited to frothier, lighter, less heavyweight roles, but I just don’t see him as Mark Rutland.

Marnie Edgar is a fascinating character, probably one of Hitchcock’s most complex. Norman Bates in PSYCHO is another prime example of how the great director had a profound understanding of how a person’s childhood can basically f**k them up twelve ways till Sunday, as it were.

Norman, of course, had perfectly acceptable reasons, deeply rooted in his upbringing, for why he grew up into a mother-fixated, sexually deviant transvestite killer. In MARNIE, Hitchcock is delving once more into the end products of a messed-up childhood.

Marnie is probably a slightly more sympathetic character than Norman, though, because she’s stunningly beautiful and doesn’t actually kill anyone…! Let’s go ahead anyway and have a look at the plot of this excellent film.

Marnie is a thief and a compulsive liar and a woman who’s so afraid of men that it’s made her sexually frigid. Long story short, she ends up being unwillingly married to rich, handsome and highly eligible widower Mark Rutland, played by Sean 007 Connery.

Mark is wise to Marnie’s tricks as a kleptomaniacal con-woman with more aliases than Homer Simpson’s fugitive mother Mona in hit animated comedy THE SIMPSONS. Remember Muddy Mae Suggins?

Anyway, Mark is deeply infatuated with the gorgeously blonde Marnie and is endlessly fascinated by her seemingly screwed-up mental condition. I’ve never liked the way he ‘studies’ her as if she’s a butterfly pinned to a bit of card, even when she’s in the midst of the most terrible distress. How about actually helping her there, bud, or is that too radical…?

Fancying himself as something of an armchair psychologist, he’s determined to get to the bottom of Marnie’s terrible fear of men and, incidentally, her seeming over-reaction to the colour red. Some of his methods are highly suspect, to say the least, and could have damaged Marnie irreparably.

Forcing a woman who’s afraid of men to submit to his sexual attentions would probably have disastrous consequences in real life, but this is a film. Maybe he thought a good ride was all she needed to loosen her up a bit. Highly suspect, as I said.

I’ll never forget the time I saw Sean Connery doing a television interview in which he was asked if he ‘minded’ his character in MARNIE having to ‘rape’ the gorgeous blonde Tippi Hedren. Cue a giant cheesy grin and a slow but emphatic shake of his handsome head…! The saucy little devil.

The scenes with Marnie’s mother in Marnie’s childhood home would all make you sympathise solely with poor Marnie. Louise Latham does an excellent job of portraying the messed-up woman whose overwhelming fear of her daughter growing up slutty actually turns said daughter into a psychological ticking time-bomb who can’t bear to be touched by anyone at all, ever. Nice work there, Momma…!

Diane Baker plays the minxy sister-in-law Lil Mainwaring to perfection. What a nosey, spiteful little bitch! She’s just dying of jealousy because Mark loves Marnie and not her.

Clearly she was hoping she’d take her dead sister’s place in Mark’s bed and Mark’s life, not to mention Mark’s chequebook, but it ain’t gonna happen. That being the case, she’s going to stir up as much trouble for Marnie as she can, just as if poor Marnie didn’t already have enough problems to be going on with.

If you’re a horsey person, there’s a lot of equine action in the film for you to oooh-and-aaaah over, plus a very sad animal scene that will probably leave you traumatised for life, haha. Remember Marge and Lisa Simpson in THE SIMPSONS settling down for a girlie afternoon of doing each others’ nails and watching the saddest pony movies Marge could find in their local video store? Great fun altogether…! 

I love all the views of the terraced street on the docks where Marnie’s childhood home in Baltimore is situated. The giant ship looks like a beautiful old painting. Apparently some of Hitch’s crew advised him that the ship looked fake and that they could fix it right up for him, but he refused, and I’m glad he did.

I mentioned earlier that, these days, Hitchcock’s films are only screened on Irish television around midnight at Christmas, after the main evening’s programming has ended.

Before I acquired the DVD, I therefore only usually got to see those iconic closing scenes with the ship in the harbour at around two or three in the morning, through a bleary-eyed fog of exhaustion in which everything on the screen looked surreal. Best way to watch the film really, for me. Happy days.   

I love Hitchcock’s rather mischievous cameo, without which his films wouldn’t be the same, in a deserted hotel corridor. I love all the marvellous early ‘Sixties glamour and Tippi Hedren’s shining blonde hair and perfect voice and face and I love also the similarities to PSYCHO. Both heroines are on the run from their old bosses, after all, with a goodly amount of said boss’s dosh secreted away in a suitcase.

Those poor girls. One of them comes to a bad end. The other might just have a shot at a half-decent life. We’ll have to wait and see if it all pans out for poor dear Marnie, won’t we, dear readers? We’ll just have to wait and see

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Stops-Sandra-Harris-ebook/dp/B089DJMH64

BAND OF GOLD. (1995-1997) A GRITTY, SEXY TV SERIES REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

BAND OF GOLD. 1995-1997. CREATED AND WRITTEN BY KAY MELLOR. PRODUCED BY GRANADA TELEVISION.

STARRING GERALDINE JAMES, CATHY TYSON, BARBARA DIXON, SAMANTHA MORTON, RACHEL DAVIES, LENA HEADEY, FIONA ALLEN, TONY DOYLE, DAVID SCHOFIELD, RAY STEVENSON AND RICHARD MOORE.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I absolutely love this drama series about a group of sex workers who live and work in Bradford’s red-light district. They work a particular patch known as ‘the Lane,’ or, more correctly, they work ‘on t’ lane,’ if you can do the accent, and God help you if you’re a young ‘un who tries to ‘work t’ lane’ without the permission of Rose, an older prostitute who’s in charge of t’ lane, see?

Rose, brilliantly played by Geraldine James, is the original tart with a heart. She’s had a hard life, has poor Rose, but she still manages to be kind and compassionate towards her fellow sex workers. She makes numerous attempts to better herself and ‘get off t’ lane’ by going to college, starting up a cleaning company with her mates on t’ lane and taking a job as a local outreach worker, with varying results.

The biggest tragedy of Rose’s life is that she gave away her baby twenty-odd years ago, and she’s never stopped wanting that baby back. She goes in search of her child, who’s now a young woman, and when she finds her is gobsmacked to find that the apple, in this case, hasn’t fallen very far from the tree. Will Rose dare to make herself known to the emotionally damaged and dangerous S&M specialist her little girl has grown up to be…?

Gobby Carol, played by Cathy Tyson, is a terrific character. She works t’lane so that her beloved daughter Emma doesn’t have to go without, and she’s had to learn to be as hard as nails to survive as a black single mum sex worker in Bradford, not a particularly rich city to begin with.

Her illicit affair with DCI Newall, the copper in charge of investigating the murder of Carol’s hooker friend Gina, is a bit sick and twisted. I like the guy, but does he actually give a genuine toss about Carol or is he only sleeping with her because he has a self-confessed thing for sex with black women? It’s hard to tell. (Gina’s mum Joyce and abusive ex-husband Steve have sex together after Gina’s death, by the way, they’re such a lovely pair!)

Carol’s other admirer is sausage-maker ‘Curly,’ terrifically played by Richard Moore who was Jarvis Skelton in EMMERDALE from 2000-2005. Curly has a stocking fetish, and pays Carol a generous sum of money to simply ‘walk’ for him, up and down and round t’ living-room wi’ stockings and high heels on. Well, it beats walking up and down t’ bloody lane in all weathers, I suppose…!

Anita Braithwaite, played by Scottish chanteuse Barbara Dickson, is an hilarious character. Talk about loose lips sink ships. She’s the biggest gossip going. For God’s sake don’t tell her your secrets, because she’s got a gob on her like the Mersey tunnel, that one. You just ask Rose or Carol.

Anita’s the mistress of rich but dodgy (is there any other kind?) married businessman George Ferguson (Irish actor Tony Doyle, sadly deceased since 2000), who treats her shabbily, and she lets the prozzies from t’ lane use her flat for indoor sex with their punters. It’s safer than going off in a car with a total stranger, innit?

That was the modus operandi of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, who, only a decade-and-a-half earlier, had been terrorising both prostitutes and non-prostitutes for real in the Leeds-Bradford area. He cruised the area in his car looking for victims and was interviewed several times by police and cleared, before eventually being properly nabbed in 1981.

When poor little prostitute Tracy, the saddest of all the sex workers, gets bashed on the head by an unknown assailant and left for dead in a patch of waste-ground, there won’t be many viewers who won’t immediately think of Peter Sutcliffe and his reign of terror from the mid-Seventies to 1981.

Peter Sutcliffe is not mentioned in the script, as far as I know, but he casts a shadow over it nonetheless. I wonder if he was allowed to watch BAND OF GOLD in t’ nick, and if he was sexually excited by it. Ted Bundy got a thrill from examining crime scene/victim photos, after all. Shudder. What a slimy thought.

Superbly played by Samantha Morton, Tracy, as I said, is the saddest of all the hookers who work t’ lane. She’s only fifteen, and she ran away from her luxurious home because she couldn’t take her father’s sexual abuse any longer. On drugs and taken advantage of by every man who buys her services, she doesn’t even seem to care what happens to her.

Carol and Rose have gumption and a bit of get-up-and-go in them. They want to better themselves and they’re trying to do it, even if their efforts sometimes go tits-up. But Tracy is a tragic figure. She’d rather someone physically hurt her, just so that she can feel something and know she’s alive. And look who she goes to looking for love! Someone as damaged and emotionally fragile as herself, but dangerous with it…

The first two series of BAND OF GOLD are top-notch. The third series, or spin-off if you like, GOLD, is as batty and incomprehensible as the last days of BROOKSIDE. I do really like the transsexual prostitute Sherrie, who’s only working t’ lane to save up the money for her final sex-change operation.

When Sherrie is brutally raped by a man in very high places, the show deftly details the difficulties inherent in charging a rich white older man with the rape of a young black transsexual prostitute. I mean, who are the cops gonna believe? Exactly. Nicely handled, BAND OF GOLD.

Popular actress Sue Cleaver, better known as Eileen Grimshaw from CORONATION STREET, has a small recurring role in the series as the barmaid in the boozer where all the girls and pimps from t’ lane gather for a bevvy. In 2000, she coincidentally plays a copper in the mini-series THIS IS PERSONAL: THE HUNT FOR THE YORKSHIRE RIPPER. There’s that Yorkshire Ripper connection we were talking about earlier again…

By the way, check out Carol in that dreadful multi-coloured Versace outfit that no doubt costs a small fortune. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, right? Common is as common does, lol. Or maybe it would be more apt to say that you can take the girl out of the estate…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.

BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ. (1928) A BOOK REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

berlin mieze franz

BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ. (1928) A NOVEL BY ALFRED DŐBLIN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘There is a mower death yclept.’

This book is considered to be the magnum opus-slash-masterpiece of Alfred Dőblin’s. Dőblin was a German writer and doctor who, having come from Jewish stock and with, understandably, plenty of reasons to be apprehensive, fled Germany in 1933 when the Nazis came to power, only returning in 1945 when the war was over.

His great work BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ was made into a fifteen-hour movie by iconic director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who was a huge fan of the book. This epic piece of cinema originally aired as a German miniseries on German television in 1980. I bet it absolutely smashed all the TV ratings for that year.

Clocking in at a spectacular nine-hundred minutes, it watches like a mini-series, divided up into digestible blocks of one hour approximately, with credits coming at the start and finish. So you needn’t fret that you don’t have the time to watch a fifteen-hour movie. If you prefer, of course, you could just read the book…!

I won’t deny that it’s a tough read. I found it rough going at times and I really had to push myself to keep at it. Dőblin’s style of writing in it, with long passages of what feels like stream-of-consciousness and the way you frequently can’t tell who’s saying what as he doesn’t differentiate between the quotations, has been compared to James Joyce’s in ULYSSES. I’m so glad I persevered with it though. Perseverance brings its own rewards.

It’s the story of Franz Biberkopf, a working-class man who, when we meet him first, is just being released from Tegel prison after a four-year stretch for manslaughter. He has battered his live-in girlfriend to death with a kitchen implement (that’s not as humorous as it sounds…!), thinking that she was about to leave him.

Now he’s done his time and you’d think he’d be glad to be free, but poor Franz is disorientated, discombobulated and generally all of a flutter to be at liberty once more to come and go as he pleases.

I say ‘poor Franz’ because he’s such a likeable character from the start. He’s an Everyman, as it were, an ordinary working stiff who’s had a bit of bad luck, you might say. I’d say it was very bad luck for the woman he killed, but how-and-ever…!

His first experiences as a free man are worthy of note. A ginger-haired and ginger-bearded Jewish man who helps him up when he falls down in the street tries to tell him a story, some sort of parable maybe, and Franz later refers to this man and his Jewish companions as friends of his.

In only a very few years time, of course, Hitler will have come to power and Jewish people such as this man will find their rights to walk freely on the public streets severely curtailed. For now, however, the bewildered Franz is probably just grateful for the human contact, for the chance to ‘ground’ himself once more on the Jewish guys’ sitting-room floor.

Shortly after getting out of Tegel, Franz goes to visit a middle-aged but still attractive blonde woman called Minna whom he knows from before. Once he’s established that she’s alone in her apartment, he rapes her and gives her a black eye and some finger-marks around her throat as well, for good measure. This is how Franz likes his sex, by the way, rough and ready.

We see that Franz later compensates her for the rape by bringing her some aprons to replace the one he apparently messed up. We also discover that this woman, Minna, is the- probably older- sister of the poor unfortunate Ida. The women of that family have surely been sorely wronged by Franz Biberkopf.

So much, anyway, for his fervent promises to only ‘go straight’ from now on. Of course, in his mind, that probably just means going straight in a business sense. It clearly doesn’t include sexual battery, which Franz may not even consider to be a crime at all.

Franz seems to find it ridiculously easy to pick up women. He’s not described as being particularly good-looking, but he’s big and burly, confident and obviously an alpha male type, to whom any broken or damaged women will flock like z-list ‘celebrities’ to the opening of an envelope.

Speaking of which, Franz quickly finds himself a live-in girlfriend in Lina, a nervous Polish woman who almost certainly has a troubled past and some kind of inner sadness. She regards herself as being in the Last Chance Saloon when it comes to bagging a man, and is pathetically grateful for Franz’s attentions. The relationship doesn’t last, however.

Before Lina exits stage left forever, though, she introduces Franz to a family friend called Otto Luders. Franz and Luders go into the business of selling shoelaces together door-to-door in the big old blocks of apartments near the titular Alexanderplatz.

It’s not a great job, obviously, that of door-to-door shoelace salesman, but good honest work in Germany at that time was hard to come by. The country was by then in the grip of a massive depression. The words ‘unemployment’ and ‘inflation’ are synonymous with the Germany of the day.

That’s one of the reasons Hitler and the Nazi party were able to grab power in 1933. They saw what was happening in the country and they promised the voters ‘Arbeit Und Brot,’ or work and bread, which was all that men like Franz were asking for.

By this stage, Hitler had already written his notorious book MEIN KAMPF and been released from Landsburg Prison for his part in the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. Both the SA (Sturm Abteilung) and the SS (Schutz Staffeinel) had been formed by this stage and Joseph Goebbels already had responsibility for Propaganda within the growing Nazi Party. Within five short years, Hitler would be Chancellor of Germany and the rest, as they say, would be history.

Luders and Franz have a major falling-out, anyway, which leaves Franz shaken and down one business partnership. Then, out of the blue, the despondent Franz is offered a job by a man in a pub. Isn’t that the way it so often happens? The man in the pub is satisfied, for his part, that Franz is a ‘true German.’ ‘Germany for the Germans,’ after all, and none of your Commie Reds or Jews or any of that. Hmmm.

So, what exactly is this new job? Franz is now the latest street vendor, if you please, of the VOLKISCHE BEOBACHTER, a real-life anti-Semitic newspaper. It was the official newspaper of the NSDAP or Nazi party from 1920 until 1945. On his first day of work, Franz is presented with the armband he’s meant to wear while he’s working. On the armband is a swastika…

This job doesn’t last long. Franz is once more on the unemployment line with about half the men of Germany for company. He devotes his time to boozing and engaging in complicated affairs with women, who are irresistibly drawn to Franz’s big, strong rough-and-ready maleness. His ex-girlfriend Eva, with whom he still remains ‘friends with benefits’ and for whom he used to pimp, offers Franz sexual, financial and emotional support whenever it’s needed. It’s well for some.

When Franz finally comes out of the drunken stupor into which he falls after the Luders fiasco, he meets an ugly poisonous man in the pub (where else?) called Reinhold. Reinhold is a cowardly shit who persuades Franz to take first one, then another, of his own mistresses off his hands because he’s tired of them and doesn’t want the hassle of breaking up with them himself, if you can believe that.

Franz is happy to oblige and has many a happy hour getting the most out of the two comely enough exes, Franze and Cilly, before Cilly (Cilly by name and silly by nature, huh?) ends up back with the odious Reinhold. Well, she’s a grown woman. She can make her own decisions. And her own mistakes…

Another consequence of Franz’s ill-fated association with Reinhold costs him dearly. Reinhold is a gangster whose boss, Pums, takes a liking to Franz and involves him in a ‘job’ they’re pulling off. Franz isn’t much cop at being the gang’s ‘lookout’ and he loses his right arm when he’s pushed out of a moving car by Reinhold during the burglary they’re carrying out.

Franz, the big cheery ‘hail fellow well met’ character who always tries to bounce back when he’s down, makes jokes about his amputated arm but we get the impression he’s not as okay about the loss of it as he makes out. Well, how could he be?

He probably feels like half a man now, working at shit jobs like being a carousel barker (he’d be the guy who shouts ‘roll up, roll up!’ and gets people into/onto the attraction) that don’t require a man to have two arms. He spends a lot of time moping around his apartment with only his faithful prostitute-lover Eva and her boyfriend/john/ pimp Herbert for company.

And there’s always the booze. Franz and the booze go back a long way. Now he’s talking to it like it’s an old friend which, in a way, it is. Franz, no longer a young man and now he’s physically disabled to boot, is clearly lacking direction. 

He meets a sneaky little crook called Willy in the pub (that’s where he meets everyone!) and decides to join with him in his dirty little stolen goods business. Wanna buy a watch? You know the type of thing. Franz obviously feels it’s about all he’s able for at the moment, with just the one arm. Talk about a slippery slope, though.

Whatever happened to the oath he swore when he came out of prison to only ever go straight again? It looks like Franz feels like there’s not much point in keeping his oath anymore. Going straight is for schmucks, right? Guy never got rich going straight.

We know ourselves that there’s more to life than getting rich but maybe Franz is tired of being dirt-poor, one of those Between-The-Wars forgotten men. We don’t know anything much about Franz’s record in World War One but we do get to read about the hilarious moment when he decides to buy an Iron Cross replica to account to people for his missing arm, the cheeky liar…!

Franz is on the verge of another life-changing moment but he doesn’t know it yet. Eva thinks he needs a new woman to raise his spirits, among other things, lol. The resourceful Eva’s already found someone she deems suitable, although why she’s fixing Franz up with someone who might be a threat to herself, Eva, is a mystery to me.

Her gift to Franz is a beautiful, shy much younger woman called Sonia, whom Franz christens ‘Mieze.’ He falls for her immediately because of her looks and her sweet, gentle disposition. She falls for him too, though he’s at least twenty, twenty-five years older than her.

She’s clearly looking for a father figure- she even dresses like a little girl and talks like a little girl and wears little-girly pink ribbons in her hair- and there’s no need to analyse why an older man is attracted to a beautiful younger woman. They go for walks in the woods together and she buys him a canary. It’s love all right.

The money Mieze makes from working as a prostitute certainly comes in handy. She immediately accepts Franz as her new pimp. Why should Franz work when he has Mieze’s earnings? Why indeed? He’s a very liberal man when it comes to sharing his woman around. However, it would appear that even Franz Biberkopf has his limits.

Mieze is being paid for sex by a rich older man and Franz has no problem whatsoever with that because the money she makes goes to him. When Mieze is daft enough to admit her attraction towards the rich older man’s good-looking young nephew, however, Franz proves that he’s still a big man by beating the living daylights out of her with his one remaining hand and choking her half to death. Shades of Ida…

Mieze is spared Ida’s fate by the intervention of the odious Reinhold, who is suspiciously close at hand that very night. After the savage beating, Franz expresses guilt and shame- only verbally, mind you- and a loving Mieze forgives him immediately. She pours oil on the troubled waters and smooths everything over with her customary docility.

I personally think that she has deeply masochistic tendencies. She doesn’t react at all like you’d expect a battered woman to react after an assault. Instead, her beatific, almost martyr-like manner as she holds ‘her Franz’ to her again tells us a lot about Mieze, who’s even allowed Franz to change her name, a deeply personal thing about her, from Sonia to Mieze.

I think her behaviour tells us that she’s severely damaged after her upbringing and her life as a prostitute, which can’t all have been plain sailing and rich benefactors. I also think it tells us that she won’t live to see forty, the way she’s going. Will she die at Franz’s hands, a death I could swear she’d almost relish, or does the fickle finger of Fate have something else in mind for her? Let’s move swiftly on…

Franz who, by the way, bears no ill-will against Reinhold for the whole amputated arm thing, makes the mistake of formally introducing Mieze to his partners-in-crime, including Reinhold, down at the bar where they all hang out.

She has an instantaneous powerful effect on Franz’s old friend Meck, who thinks her beautiful, and also on Reinhold, whom she’s met once before but not formally, that is, when he was pulling her out from under Franz before Franz killed her the way he did Ida.

Meck and Reinhold both think that she’s much too good for Franz, and they’re each jealous that Franz has managed to pull such a pretty young thing who’s clearly devoted to him. The spiteful, if not downright evil, Reinhold is determined that he’ll get his mucky paws on the lovely Mieze’s body, and before too much more time has elapsed.

He sneakily orchestrates some alone time for himself and Mieze, all behind Franz’s back, of course. Why doesn’t he just ask Franz straight out if he can sleep with the girl for a few Deutschmarks? After all, Franz doesn’t mind pimping her out for a few quid.

Reinhold takes her to the Freienwalde, the forest in the gorgeous rural area where she is accustomed to sometimes walk with her beloved Franz. Poor silly Mieze’s fate is immediately sealed. What happens to her at Reinhold’s hands is sad, grubby and shockingly inevitable, given her profession, her damaged psyche and her vulnerability.

When Franz finds out, he goes temporarily insane and is taken to Buch Mental Hospital, where he is force-fed by doctors who are stumped by his insanity and intent on keeping him alive to face the hangman’s noose if it turns out that Franz is responsible for what happened to Mieze, as the police seem to think.

If only Franz had broken from the disgusting evil Reinhold, the snake in the grass who not only cost Franz his arm but who has now taken away from Franz, his so-called friend, the only precious thing Franz had left in his life.

If only Franz had had the strength to sever the unhealthy, unholy alliance between himself and the dangerous criminal Reinhold. Will he ever see that Reinhold has feet of clay and is perhaps the worst thing that’s ever happened to him? Reinhold, Pums, the whole gang, it’s all poisonous and polluted. It was a bad day for Franz Biberkopf when he fell in with them.

Will the odious Reinhold ever pay for his crimes? And can Franz ever rise again after this latest body-blow sees him come face-to-face with Death Himself? Well, that, folks, is the sixty-four-million dollar question. Read Dőblin’s wonderful masterpiece of the Weimar Republic for yourself and find out.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor