Wo ist Coletti?

Wo ist Coletti?
R: Max Mack. B: Franz von Schoenthan. K: Hermann Boettger. Ba: Hermann Warm. D: Hans Junkermann, Madge Lessing, Heinrich Peer, Anna Müller-Lincke. P: Vitascope GmbH. D 1913
Engl. subtitles

“This production tells the story of the famous detective, Coletti, of Berlin. Coletti has taken charge of a bank robbery case, and the editor of the Continental Daily Mail publishes an article in which he chides the detective for mismanagement of the case. As it was known the criminal remained in Berlin for forty-eight hours after the robbery; the article claimed that had Coletti published and distributed inscription of the criminal someone of the millions of inhabitants of Berlin would have captured him. In an open letter to the editor of the paper, Coletti states it is almost impossible to unearth a man hidden away in as large a city as Berlin, and to back up his statement, offers a reward of $25,000 to any person who can capture him within forty-eight hours after a full description of himself, and his photograph, have been printed in every newspaper, and posted all around the city. The challenge is accepted. All the inhabitants of Berlin, except Anton, the barber, and Lolette, Coletti’s fiancée, are seeking the detective. (…)”

Max Mack’s ‘Where is Coletti?’ (1913) is the first known detective film from the German-speaking world. But rather than chart the piecemeal resolution of a sensational crime, it is the comedic Detective Coletti that the film pursues. Gone incognito in the bustling metropolis of Berlin, Coletti dares the public to play detective — to scan city streets and sweep crowded cafes in search of their elusive prey. Berliners have 48 hours to find Coletti and turn in him in for a handsome reward of 100.000 Mark.”
LSA-German Languages and Literatures University of Michigan

“Max Mack’s Der Andere (1913) and Stellan Rye‘s Der Student von Prag (1913) represent defining features of the ‘Autorenfilme’, such as the appropriation of literary themes, psychological development of the characters, and predominant focus on studio settings. In contrast, another ‘Autorenfilm’, Mack’s Wo ist Coletti?, placed the action in the Berlin streets and engaged both hired extras and passersby. Instead of excluselively relying on the theatrical credit of scriptwriters and actors, Wo ist Coletti? drew on the popular base of cinema – its absorbing fascination with speed, modern transportation and media sensations. The film also channelled the topical detective genre, which emerged in films such as Joseph Delmont‘s Das Recht aufs Dasein (1913) and which strategically used the city as a versatil setting for spectular urban chases.”
Nora Gortcheva: A Broader Scope – Wilhelmine Cinema in Berlin. In: Susan Ingram (ed.): World Film Locations: Berlin. Intellect Books 2013, p. 9

“(…) the film depended on a world, mediated by newspapers, whose depictions of wanted criminals not only provided Coletti with the rationale for the wager but gave Max Mack the idea for the film. Even posters for the movie showed passersby reading boulevard papers, looking up, and scanning the streets. Again and again, Mack indicated how the city was read before it was seen or encountered. Both in the use and depiction of the press, Mack’s film (…) regarded the newspaper as a vital metropolitan script. Indeed, there is no better illustration of the narrativization of the metropolis than the ‘Morgenpost’s choreography on a city-wide scale of the comical plot of a minor film. Wo ist Coletti? and ‘Augen auf!’ revealed Berlin to be a city of readers and spectators who made sense of their urban surroundings by consuming images manufactured by the press.”
Peter Fritzsche: Reading Berlin 1900. Cambridge, Mass., and London 1998, p. 86

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