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Die Engel Von St. Pauli (Angels Of The Street)

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    Ian Jane
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  • Die Engel Von St. Pauli (Angels Of The Street)



    Released on: November 6th, 2015.
    Released by: Subkultur Entertainment
    Director: Jurgen Roland
    Cast: Horst Frank, Herbert Fux, Werner Pochath
    Year: 1969
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    The Movie:

    Better known in North America as Angels Of The Street, director Jurgen Roland's 1969 film Die Engel Von St. Pauli is, at its core, the story of a gang war. In the film, Horst Frank plays a man named Jule Nickels. He's the top man in Hamburg's red light district and he doesn't take kindly to anyone muscling in on his territory. Enter a man named Holleck (Herbert Fux), fresh off the train from Vienna with a stable full of working girls far more exotic and interesting than the ones Jule and his crew have been peddling from the windows of the street level whorehouses that populate St. Pauli. As you'd guess, Jule is none too pleased with this, especially when he finds out a shutterbug nicknamed Blinky (Gernot Endemann) has been taking pictures of various johns gallivanting about with some of Jule's women. Business is on a steep downward slope, so Jule busts up Holleck's house of ill repute and tries to scare him off.

    But it doesn't work. Holleck is tough, smart and in this for the long haul. When he comes up with a plan to have his ten best Viennese girls marry ten German bums so that they can't be deported, Jule has his men trash the celebration and in doing so, sets into motion a gang war that will leave a whole lot of people plenty messed up before it's over with. The cops are looking into this, hoping to keep things calm and to stop them from getting out of hand, but Jule is not a man to be trifled with - and for that matter, neither is Holleck.

    Fast paced and fairly action-intensive, Die Engel Von St. Pauli is a top notch German crime film that makes great use of its solid cast and its authentic locations. There's plenty of completely gratuitous (but very welcome) nudity provided by the cast of lovely German actresses recruited for the film, and the film doesn't skimp on the violence either. When Blinky is busted for peddling photos of Jule's customers in action, he's tied to the back of two different cars and stretched until he gives the thugs the information that they want and the scene where Jule's thugs attack the wedding party also hits hard and with plenty of oomph!

    In the middle of all of this, however, are some very strong performances. Horst Frank is fantastic as Jules, the old school hard ass who doesn't want anyone getting in on his game. He struts about looking great in his pinstriped suit and his bowler cap, stopping short of chewing the scenery but never lacking in intensity or determination. This is the kind of role that Frank excelled at and he is indeed very well cast in this picture. Every bit his equal is Herbert Fux. Probably best known to those outside of German for playing the executioner in the notorious Mark Of The Devil or for bit parts in Franco's Jack The Ripper or for appearing alongside Rosalba Neri in Lady Frankenstein, Fux has a face you don't easily forget and director Jurgen Roland exploits that for all that it is worth. Frank might be more intense and more frightening here, but Fux's character is delightfully sneaky and he plays this perfectly.

    The ending might be a little bit on the predictable side but that doesn't make getting there any less enjoyable. The fact that all of this was shot on location in St. Pauli helps add to the atmosphere in the film, the backgrounds are often populated with the marquees of sex theaters and signs advertising booze, broads and trouble. Siegfried Franz contributes a pretty rousing score that complements the action and drama in equal measure while the camera work from cinematographer Petrus R. Schlí¶mp frames it all perfectly. This is one of those films where it all comes together. Anyone with even a passing interesting in European crime films owes it to themselves to check this one out.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The film arrives on Blu-ray looking very good in high definition framed at 1.6.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p. Black levels are good, detail is typically quite strong as is texture and depth and things shape up nicely here. Colors are reproduced quiet naturally, skin tones look lifelike and appropriately warm and there are no problems with edge enhancement, noise reduction or compression artifacts. Expect a fair amount of natural film grain but not a whole lot of actual print damage, which really just keeps the whole thing looking nice and film-like.

    DTS-HD Mono options are provided in German, French and English with optional subtitles provided in German and in English. Some scenes sound a little bit flat but that's hardly a deal breaker. Dialogue is always easy to understand and the levels are properly balanced, though some background hiss/hum is present here and there. The score also sounds quite good, plenty strong in spots but never overpowering.

    Extras kick off with a commentary track from Pelle Felsch and Oliver Noding, but it's in German without any English subtitles so we can't really offer much in the way of input there. There are, however, English subtitles provided for two archival interviews included on the disc, the first of which is with Horst Frank and runs just under sixteen minutes. Here he talks about his younger days, how he got into acting, his thoughts on the craft and then what it was like working on some of the films he's appeared in over the years. He also talks about how he got into film through his TV work, his thoughts on political and social criticism in film and quite a bit more. It's an interesting piece, as is the second interview, which is a thirteen minute chat with Herbert Fux. He speaks about his family life and his childhood, how he got into theater at a young age and some of the difficulties he ran into during these days, and various projects that he was involved with over the years.

    The disc also includes an audio interview with director Jurgen Roland that runs just over twenty-nine minutes. No subtitles here, unfortunately. Moving right along, we get a location tour that compares the streets and buildings featured in the movie was they were in 1969 contrasted with recently shot footage showing what they look like now. We also get a quick restoration comparison that shows footage from the raw scan contrasted with the cleaned up and restored version of the movie.

    English and French opening credits sequences are included as is some French localization footage, trailers in German, English and French for the feature, a still gallery, trailers for a few other films in Subkultur's excellent EDV line, animated menus and chapter selection. The menus are available in your choice of German or English, which is a nice touch, while the reversible cover art allows you to display the same image you see up top in this review with or without the FSK Rating label in the bottom corner of the front panel. There's also a neat Easter Egg on here that, when selected, shows some actual news clip footage of the movie being shot (specifically the scene where one of the sex clubs is burned).

    The Final Word:

    Die Engel Von St. Pauli is pretty great stuff. Lots of action, suspense and a fair bit of sleaze, the movie is really nicely shot and also showcases some great performances from its two leads. Subkultur have done a fine job bringing the movie to Blu-ray for the first time, offering it up in excellent shape, with strong audio and an impressive array of supplemental features.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!
























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