Michael Nyman

The Ogre

The Ogre

The Ogre

Virgin Venture CDVE 931
1996

John Harle: soprano and alto saxophone
David Roach: soprano and alto saxophone
Simon Haram: soprano and alto saxophone
Andrew Findon: baritone saxophone, flute and piccolo
Steve Sidwell: trumpet, piccolo trumpet and flugelhorn
Nigel Gomm: trumpet and flugel
David Lee: horn and wagner tuba
Nigel Black: horn and wagner tuba
Paul Gargham: horn and wagner tuba
Richard Clews: horn and wagner tuba
Chris Davies: horn and wagner tuba
Andrew Berryman: trombone
Nigel Barr: bass trombone and tuba
Garry Kettel: drums

As a man, Abel is so pure of spirit he cannot imagine that his attraction to children might stir doubts in the neighbourhood where he has become a gagrage mechanic. He adores taking pictures of a young girl who befriends him, and is horrified when she accuses him of an indecent crime against her.
By pure chance, history gives him an opportunity to make a new life rather than go to prison. The year is 1939.
He is sent to the front and taken prisoner by the Germans. A series of twists of fate lead him into the inner sanctum of high-ranking officers of the Third Reich, including Hermann G?ring himself. He also meets Count Kaltenborn, the magnificent Armin Mueller-Stahl, who teaches him the legends of the Teutonic knights. Abel sees his role in history spread out before him. He gets on so well with the young recruits of an SS-preparatory school, that he is sent out on a mission.
Traversing the countryside on horseback accompanied by three Dobermans, he is to “find boys. Don’t worry if you have to insist, just bring me boys.”
And so the kind man who loves children acquires the name of the mythical devourer of children, the Ogre, forcibly recruiting youths for the great National Socialist future. Abel goes through an odyssey of deviance and heroism, seemingly transforming into a monster, and at the same time, saving the lives of children -to him there is no contradiction.
The expansive, epic quality of the film is enhanced by Ezio Frigerio’s almost operatic production design: “G?ering’s hunting lodge looks like both a monument to the hunt and an ogre’s den”, he explains.
And Schl?ndorff remarks that “throughout the film, John Malkovich seems to be getting physically bigger and bigger until he looks like an ogre!”

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