This movie is based on a fairly well known ad still popular Dutch play, set in the Jordaan. A neighborhood where the the working class of Amsterdam used to live. So its source material is quite familiar but what makes it unique is that this was the first version of it that used sounds. A real important aspect, considering that it's a story that is being filled with lots of songs and other forms of old fashioned cabaret.

What makes these sort of movies typical is its nostalgic feeling and atmosphere to it. It's absolutely fantastic to see the old Amsterdam (though not that much has changed about its look) with its old fashioned people, doing all kinds of old fashioned things that we even forgot about mostly. The movie does an extremely good job at capturing this sense of nostalgia and is part of the reason why this movie is an absolute joy to watch.

Another reason is its story. It's a simple premise that is really well written though, which provides the movie with plenty of great characters and moments in it. It are especially its characters that really make this movie. The movie follows a main plot line but at the same time also plenty of side-plots, involving the many different characters. It gives the simple story lots of depth and heart, which makes the movie feel like a very honest and charming movie.

Yes, despite all of its heavy and serious subjects this movie mostly remains a very pleasant one to watch at all times. No matter how dramatic stuff gets, the movie is always bright and cheerful. You could say that it feels like a very Innocent movie that you can watch, feel touched by but never feel depressed or down by any of it

In all fairness though, the ending was just incredibly bad and rushed. The last 20 minutes didn't feel at all in tone with the rest of the movie, mostly also because it is then that the movie gets set outside of Amsterdam. It just feels like it's an entire movie on its own, only done in 20 minutes. Perhaps they should had just saved it for a sequel, though sequels weren't really a thing they had heard of back in 1934. Yes, I'm not lying when I'm saying that I would had rated this movie higher if the last 20 minutes of it had been left out entirely.

I can't always call this movie a well made one. It's sloppy in its editing at times and it too often is also using archive footage, which feels too much out of tone with this movie, since it obviously got shot with a different camera and frame rate. The footage also looks far older, like it's from the 1920's actually. This was really a distraction at times, especially when the movie tries to combine the archive footage with the newly shot footage for the movie.

It's funny to see how much this movie actually looks like a German movie from the 1920's. The style of acting, the positioning of the camera, even the make-up. I don't know if the Dutch actually 'borrowed' this style from the Germans because German movies were quite popular back in those days, or if this is a style that can also be considered to be typical Dutch. Since after all, the Netherlands and Germany are neighboring countries, who perhaps got inspired and influenced by the same things and received the same sort of of training when it comes down to film-making.

It's already worth watching for its nostalgic feeling alone but besides that it also has a really well written story and plenty of fun in it to consider this a more than watchable and recommendable movie, though its hard to find- or watch anywhere.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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