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Death of a Schoolboy Movie Review

princip parade peter leotard

I once saw a movie about Bismarck made during the Third Reich that didn't have a single battle sequence, for who knows what reason. It played out rather like a chess game. It reminded me of THIS movie, about the 16-year-old kid who started World War I (and, consequently, II) by shooting Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife during a holiday parade in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Death of a Schoolboy is all about Gavre Princip without showing what he did or what it meant. You see him before and after the parade, you see what he's like and how he evolved from schoolboy to assassin and…that's the movie. Even if Peter Patzak was broke, even if he couldn't afford the extras or the props to recreate the parade, there is an abundance of stock footage and stills collecting dust on the shelves of archives and libraries, so why not show them? To take the emphasis off the single act that placed Princip in the encyclopedia and not to show that act is simply inexplicable. The story begins in Bosnia-Herzegovina when Princip (Reuben Pillsbury) is a baby-faced, 17-year-old idealist who hates the monarchy. He considers Franz Ferdinand's visit on a Serbian national holiday to be an insult and prepares to do away with him. (In the film, he expresses regret to Phillipe Leotard's Dr. Levin about killing the Archduke's morganatic wife as well and it's clear that he hasn't a clue about how and why the Great War started.) He considers the assassination, makes his plans carefully…and then we see him as a reflective inmate in the prison where he died of tuberculosis in 1918, a Serbian “hero” and no longer a schoolboy. This could have been a fascinating picture instead of the rambling assembly of unfinished ideas that it is. AKA: Gavre Princip Himmel Unter Steinen.

1991 93m/C Reuben Pillsbury, Christopher Chaplin, Robert Munic, Sinolicka Trpkova, Michele Melega, Alan Cox, Hans-Michael Rehberg, Philippe Leotard, Alexis Arquette; D: Peter Patzak; W: David Anton, Hans Konig; C: Igor Luther; M: Peter Ponger.

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