Review by Michele E. Hawkins.
The Robber Hotzenplotz (Nicholas Ofczarek) has been at it again, this time stealing Granny Schlotterbeck’s (Christiane Paul) coffee grinder. Police Chief Constable Alois Dimpfelmoser (Olli Dittrich) is called upon to deal with this emergency. The coffee grinder must be recovered!
Kasperl (Hans Marquardt) and Seppel (Benedikt Jenke), recognising that so far no-one has been able to trap Hotzenplotz, decide that if Granny’s coffee grinder is to be found they must discover the whereabouts of the robber and bring him to justice. So they devise a plan to trail him to his lair and head into the forest to enact it.
Meanwhile, Hotzenplotz discovers that the wizard Petrosilius Zwackelmann (August Diehl), to whom he has failed to sell Granny’s coffee grinder, has no spell for peeling the potatoes and wants a servant who knows how to peel them. And when Hotzenplotz encounters the boys in the forest, he decides that one of the boys will serve perfectly.
Nicholas Ofczarek as Hotzenplotz brings to life a real scoundrel with personal habits that are sure to both irk and delight children. At one point in the session I attended, the young girl next to me asked her mother why Hotzenplotz didn’t clean his teeth!
August Diehl makes of the role of the wizard Zwackelmann a marvellously nasty, selfish creation. In his tall wizard’s hat; dark-blue cloak decorated with stars and moons; skinny fingers with long, pointy, dirty nails; and horrible teeth, Diehl dances and prances about, spreading fear and mischief. He’s certainly a bad wizard, whom children will probably relish as much as dislike.
Olli Dittrich plays Chief Constable Dimpfelmoser to perfection. Dimpfelmoser is an incompetent buffoon who manages to get everything wrong and to make things worse even as he’s doing his best to make them right. And Christiane Paul’s Granny Schlotterbeck is as charming as she is determined and feisty.
Of course, for the film to work, Kasperl and Seppel had to be well-cast, and indeed they have been. Hans Marquardt convincingly portrays Kasperl as strong, clever, and a natural leader, and the younger Benedikt Jenke just as convincingly plays soft-hearted, sensitive Seppel, who always follows Kasperl’s lead and to whom he is completely loyal.
Set in a deliciously colourful fairytale world, The Robber Hotzenplotz is a visual treat. From the quaint town to granny’s neat little cottage, Robber Hotzenplotz’s secret hide-out, the wizard’s bleak tower, and the luxurious mansion of a mysterious lady who owns the most unusual of guard dogs, the film delights with rich hues and imaginative costumes and sets.
For anyone over the age of seven or eight, The Robber Hotzenplotz makes for an enjoyable diversion.
Screening at Palace cinemas.