Friedrich Wolf's play has been filmed before by the U.S.S.R., but this version is directed by the author's son who also co-directed a previous festival film, Stars.
The story begins early in 1933. Professor Mamlock is the doctor in charge of the surgical department of the hospital in a German university town. In the streets Nazis and Communists brawl, but the Professor considers that his position in soci¬ety, at the hospital, and in his home, will be secure whatever happens. His son Rolf disagrees and takes up the Communist cause. When the Nazis attain power, the Professor finds himself dismissed from his post, betrayed by his friends. In his tragedy, he can only see one way out . . .
The film contains some fine performances, particularly by Wolfgang Heinz in the name part. The photography is crisp and direct, and the whole film is an example of superior craftsmanship. The sequence of the parade through the streets at carnival time deserves special mention. A most moving and poignant tragedy of one family, representing the tragedy of millions.
Professor Mamlock was awarded a Gold Medal at the 1961 Moscow Film Festival.