Wow. I had high hopes for this, as I’ve been heard good things about it (not from a lot of people, as it’s pretty obscure), I loved the Frank Borzage film Jeremy gave me earlier (here’s that review), and I generally like film noir no matter what.
I was unprepared for how much I would love it.
The opening is a very expressionistic depiction of a man being hanged, all in shadows, followed by an ominous shot of a baby crying in a crib with a shadow over him cast from a hanging toy. Flashforward, the kid is getting bullied on the schoolyard about his dad being hanged. Flashforward again, the young man is still getting into fistfights over this spectre from his past.
I love that people have dug deep in this challenge and brought me some classic-era films that I not only hadn’t seen, but hadn’t even heard of! I’ve see a few Frank Borzage films but never really gotten the hype, so I was glad to get another chance to check him out – and spoilers, I got another one the following week, heh. Based on the strength of the two films, I need to reevaluate all the others I’d seen and dismissed, because I loved them both.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, Little Man, What Now?. The two main characters are poor folks in Weimar-era Germany, and we first meet them at a gynecologist’s office. The doctor confirms Lammchen’s pregnancy, then takes just about all of Hans’ paltry salary in payment. The unmarried couple (the only real reason it deserves a Pre-Code tag) gets married secretly, because his boss is set on getting him to marry his daughter – without stringing her along, Hans is in danger of losing his position.