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A young soldier in an army camp near a small Swiss village gets into an argument with his sergeant, which winds up in a fight. The soldier, believing he has killed the sergeant, flees to ... See full summary »


Franz Schnyder


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Credited cast:
Robert Trösch Robert Trösch ... Mitrailleur Hermelinger
Adolf Manz Adolf Manz ... Emil Ruttishuser
Sylva Denzler Sylva Denzler ... Emma Quadri
Johannes Steiner Johannes Steiner ... Arzt Dr. Krebser
Elfriede Volker Elfriede Volker ... Frau Ruttishuser
Max Werner Lenz Max Werner Lenz ... Lampenverkäufer
Bethli Rutishauser Bethli Rutishauser ... Lorli Ruttishuser
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Freitag ... Feldweibel Epper
Paul Hubschmid ... Fritz Hablützel


A young soldier in an army camp near a small Swiss village gets into an argument with his sergeant, which winds up in a fight. The soldier, believing he has killed the sergeant, flees to Zurich, determined to disguise himself and cross the border into France. However, things don't work out quite as he had planned. Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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Swiss German

Release Date:

2 October 1943 (Switzerland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Deserter See more »

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User Reviews

Care for a Swiss film noir?
12 March 2003 | by manuel-pestalozziSee all my reviews

Wilder Urlaub is based on a good, tight script and offers numerous visual treats. This is to my knowledge the only Swiss dialect movie that fully meets the requirements of the noir genre. It tells the story of a young army deserter who thinks he has killed his sergeant in an argument. He flees from his army encampment to Zurich where he arrives in a rainy night and rents a furnished room in the old town (a poor area of rather bad repute before gentrification started). He does not find rest there, his main concern being stealing civilian clothes so that he can escape to unoccupied France (the movie was made during World War Two). The soldier is confronted with different people who struggle with problems of their own and let him reconsider his actions. In the course of events he gets an opportunity to somehow relieve his conscience by telling the reason for the argument that led to his slaying the sergeant. In flashbacks the viewers are told the life story of the soldier and his acquaintance with the sergeant that started long before army service. This turns the movie into a short, sober and unbiased excursion into the Swiss social order of that time with a remarkable lack of preachyness. The soldier's bad conscience also leads to a short well directed dream sequence that seems to turn him temporarily insane. In the end he returns to his unit to face the consequences of his act.

The story starts with night falling and ends at dawn the next morning. Good use is made of the blackout which was imposed in Switzerland during the war. At times the main character is running aimlessly through the completely dark city, occasionally persecuted by flashlights, his heavy army boots echoing on the cobble stones of the narrow streets in the else deadly quiet "Altstadt".

The director of Wilder Urlaub is Franz Schnyder, German trained and famous for his treatments of the novels of Jeremias Gotthelf, idealizing rural Switzerland. The good country life (as opposed to the stifling, immoral city) is also apparent in Wilder Urlaub, as the deserter returns to his unit encamped in a village. His way back leads through a pastoral setting, resplendent in the first rays of sunlight.

The script, in my opinion one of the best ever for a Swiss movie, is by Kurt Guggenheim, a writer who now is almost forgotten. A man of liberal spirit and a Swiss patriot in the very best sense of the word, his novels deal with Switzerland and the challenges its people have to face.

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