Wednesday, 27 January 2021

the goldfish scene

The 1957 East German children’s film Das singende, klingende Bรคumchen based on the folktale tale “Hurleburlebutz” compiled by the Brothers Grimm was serialised for television by the BBC in the mid-sixties, the import, with audiences unprepared for the foreign and fairy tale character of the production left an indelible mark on a generation of impressionable viewers, though well-made and quite beloved elsewhere.

The plot, categorised in the 1812 collection as Kinder- und Hausmรคrchen 66, involves a beautiful but rather haughty princess who rebuffs the overtures of a prince, rejecting his proposal lest he brings her the mythical “singing ringing tree.” After much searching and tribulations, the prince discovers the tree but it is in the domain of an evil dwarf, who makes the prince a bargain. The prince is offered the tree on the condition that if the princess still refuses to marry him, he will be transformed into a bear and in the service of the dwarf. Because the tree only performs in the presence of true love, the princess is not impressed with this tree that neither sings nor rings.
The prince turns into a bear and is compelled to return to the dwarf’s lair, taking the tree with him. Still obsessed with this tree, the princess dispatches her father the king to find it. The king encounters the prince bear, who gives him the tree on the condition that the king comes back to him with the first thing the king sees upon his return. Naturally it’s the princess who is now also under the power of the dwarf. Releasing how insufferable she is, the dwarf casts a spell on the princess to take away her beauty. The princess and the bear gradually fall in love, the princess reforming her selfish ways and breaks both their curses—with the singing, ring tree announcing the triumph of true love.