Une Ewig Bleibt die Liebe ( "Love is Forever" ) is one of those exceptions. The plot is rather simple and there is never anything exciting going on in the film and yet it has a lot of drama, and it is presented in such a soapy fashion to make it irresistible.
The Swedish beauty, Ulla Jacobssen, who made a name for herself in Arne Mattsson's One Summer of Happiness ( 1951 ), stars as Marieke, a young woman who was adopted by the Vogelreuther family as a baby. She recently discovered that her birth mother is none other than "die Elster" - "the Magpie" - ( Hilde von Stolz ), the village thief and drunkard. She was recently released from prison after serving eight years in jail. This shames Marieke to no end. She loves her adopted parents and sister more than anyone else but feels she ought to publicly acknowledge her birth mother.
This angst over her mother is ruining her love life, too. Georg ( Karlheinz Böhm ), her cousin, has loved her for years but she never returned his love because she knows he feels bound in gratitude to the Vogelreuther's as well and they want to see him marry Trude, Marieke's little sister. Georg does show affection for Trude ( Ingrid Andree ) and at the beginning of the film we learn they are to be wed in less than a week's time. Georg would still rather marry Marieke but she would never marry him now because she knows how much her sister loves him and her sister's happiness is more important to her than her own. So, as you can see, there is quite a bit of drama going on in the film.... And it is played out really well, especially by the principal leads.
Paul Dahlke and Magda Schneider ( Romy Schneider's mother ) also star in the film as Marieke's adopted parents.
Love is Forever was based on the play "Johannisfeuer/Fires of St. John" by Hermann Sudermann. In Germany, where the film takes place, the celebration of the midsummer solstice on St. John's Eve ( June 23/24 ) is extremely popular. People light huge bonfires which they dance around well into the night. The festival is featured in the film and also in Johannisnacht, released in 1956, which features this celebration near the climax.
The story of Und Ewig Bleibt die Liebe is a good example of how gratitude, when taken too far, can ruin people's lives. Instead of being honest with their feelings to those they love, both Marieke and George would rather sacrifice their own happiness for the family that raised them.
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