The third sex – (Germany, 1957)

Klaus is a young man in post-war Berlin. He is drawn to his friend Manfred and, under the encouragement of their acquaintance, Dr. Winkler, explore the underground world of gay clubs and electronic music. His family begins to learn of his other life and do everything they can to set him straight.

third-sex„The Third Sex” (1957) AKA “Bewildered Youth” AKA “He Married an Actress” AKA „Anders Als Du und Ich (§ 175)” AKA „Das Dritte Geschlecht”
What can you possibly say about a film that a) portrays homosexuality as evil and even diabolic and that b) was made by the infamous Veit Harlan, director of nazi-propaganda-films like „Jud Süß” and „Kolberg”?
Well, it’s surprisingly quite entertaining, despite (or because of) its reactionary message, bizarre plot, melodramatic twists, great villains, and a fantastic score featuring musique concrete by Oskar Sala.
This is true document of German „Spießertum”
This version is the lost, dubbed American theatrical release, which omits the director’s name from the credits and which despite being cut is actually more sympathetic to homosexuality than the original German version or its later re-cut (and recently restored) German re-release, which saw the older homosexual arrested and the mother given a suspended rather than a prison sentence!

blog-photo-4-the-third-sex-21ANDERS ALS DU UND ICH (Different From You And Me), a 1957 gay-themed film from Germany, has always had a bad reputation due to it’s Nazi-era director, Viet Harlan, who was said to have done for queers here what he did for Jews in his infamous JUD SUSS (1940), but, in fact, the opposite is true. This highly entertaining film would, despite it’s ignorance (homosexuality can be cured by having sex with a woman), have been quite progressive if German censors didn’t cut the parts they felt were „advertizing homosexuality” since those deleted and altered scenes (included on the DVD) were actually pleas for tolerance and understanding. For instance, someone tells a mother who’s son is gay that it’s fate but that was changed to him telling her she shouldn’t just accept it and a gay lawyer, the picture of normalcy and the voice of reason amid all the hysteria, advocated either abstinence or monogamy (still relevant in this day and AIDS) but was excised altogether. Gay bars were also said to be condoned by the government so homosexuals could have a place to go but that was out, too, of course, and what’s left is „artistic” teens seduced by a chicken hawk at parties where the floor is cleared for some Greco-Roman wrestling. In the uncut version, a mother goes to prison for procuring the services of the family maid to seduce her son (which shows how counter-productive the laws criminalizing homosexuality were) but in the cut film, what she did wasn’t so bad and she only gets probation. Melodramatic, absorbing, and absolutely fascinating -a must see, I must say!

Former UFA director Harlan was cleared of war crimes in 1948, claiming he was only following orders and that Goebbels tampered with his JUD SUSS but judging by what the censors did to DIFFERENT FROM YOU AND ME (an implicitly prejudiced title changed from the original THE THIRD SEX) there might be some truth to that.


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