German Popular Cinema and the Rialto Krimi Phenomenon: Dark Eyes of London examines the Kriminalfilme—or Krimis—based on the novels of English author Edgar Wallace, released by Rialto Film between 1959 and 1972 as part of the post-World War II era of German popular cinema that enjoyed extraordinary popularity with the German public. Nicholas G. Schlegel analyzes how this group of West German thrillers not only nurtured a convalescing film industry, but also provided unequaled national entertainment while canonizing Rialto’s Krimi productions in terms of their historical genesis, aesthetic characteristics, and social reception. Schlegel surveys the Krimi’s enduring legacy, calculable global influence, inevitable decline, and eventual migration to television in the 1970s, where it thrived but ultimately took on a more somber tone. Scholars of film, television, history, and German culture will find this book particularly useful.
Nicholas G. Schlegel is assistant professor of communication studies at Alfred University.
Part 1: History
1. The Allied Occupation & The Federal Republic 1946–1959
Part 2: The Films
2. Krime in Chiaroscuro: 1959–1966
3. Krime in Single-Strip Color: 1966 – 1972
Part 3: Conclusion
4. Krime Scene: The Krimi Autopsy
About the Author
Author and cinema academic Nicholas G. Schlegel has published his second book and it is just as welcome as his first, German Popular Cinema and the Rialto Krimi Phenomenon could be one of the most important new works on genre films in a decade or more.
[A] very welcome and much-needed addition for anyone interested in exploring these films in more detail. With an insightful analysis of each of the films and their reception, alongside a history of the post-war German film industry and where these films sit within that context, reading this book will have you eagerly seeking out copies of all of them.
Nicholas Schlegel’s highly enjoyable book provides an in-depth look at post-war German cinema’s most popular, but critically maligned, genre cycle. The book’s greatest achievement is that after reading the author’s engaging and enthusiastic account, you want to immediately return to viewing the films.
Even as formerly neglected genres of popular European cinema from the Italian western to French film noir are now getting their due, the distinctive German krimi—or crime thriller—is often overlooked. Fortunately, Nicholas Schlegel is on the case. In this book, he deftly traces the krimi’s roots in European culture, literature, and film, and offers an in-depth look at key examples of the genre, which was a mainstay of popular cinema across the pond in the mid-twentieth century. It is an indispensable guide for anyone interested in these stylish, pulpy, and highly entertaining whodunits.
This is a book I’ve dreamed of owning for some time: a history of the West German krimi film phenomenon of the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s - in English, and from the pen of an obsessed writer armed with the facts and sharp critical thinking.
Dr. Schlegel's book is an insightful exploration of the dark and dangerous world of German Krimi cinema that combines years of research and a genuine passion for the subject. This important study of an often-disparaged and misunderstood genre is sure to please fellow film scholars and fans alike.
3/17/22, Alfred University: Author Schlegel’s career and the release of this book were highlighted in this article.