Der Hauptmann Von Köpenick (1931)
   Based on an actual event in 1906, Wilhelm Voigt, a simple cobbler, creates an event that parades the absurdities of Prussian militarism before all the world. Freed from jail for a minor offense, he tries to get a passport, but cannot because he has no job. Even he can see the stupidity of it all. If he had a job, he could get a passport, but without a passport, he cannot get a job - an Alice In Wonderland situation shared by millions of his contemporaries. Finally, in despair, he capitalizes on the spell cast by military dress by buying a threadbare officer's uniform, changing in a W.C., and emerging a demi-god. While his disguise is more than transparent, who dares question it? Encountering a couple of squads of soldiers, he marches them to the town hall, arrests the top official "in the name of His Majesty," and then asks for the passport office. When he finds there is none, he gives up and escapes. The world hears about his exploits and even the Kaiser has a good laugh, pardons him and presents him with the coveted passport.

"Towards the end of the film, when examined by the police, Voigt declares that his desire to be buried in native soil kept him from crossing the borders to safety. This unwilling rebel still ardently wants to "belong". To the core of his soul he is as militaristic-minded as his brother-in-law, as in the last scene, a column of soldiers moves along to the sound of a military band, and Voigt, now a free man with a passport, comes upon the soldiers and, his feet electrified, marches off in their company." -Siegfried Kracauer, From Caligari to Hitler.

(US: The Captain of Koepenick) 
Produced and directed by Richard Oswald. 
Based on the Play by Carl Zackmayer. 
Starring Max Adalbert, Willi Schur, Hermann Vallentin, Emil Wabschke. 
96 minutes. 
B&W. 
German/English Subtitles. 
16mm.