The incredible true story of Bert Trauntmann a German Prisoner of War in England, was an impressive football goalkeeper and manages to get himself signed by Manchester City along with falling in love with English woman Margaret. Having to battle against the aftermaths of the Second World War.
*Original Title – Trautmann*
This is certainly not your standard sport person biopic that you would be expecting. Bert was a PoW when Germany lost and World War II came to an end, he was in a small place in Lancashire and he was spotted playing football one day. Jack Friar who was manager of non-league side St Helens Town really needed a new goalkeeper and strikes a deal with the commander of the base to allow Trautmann out of the camp in a bid to save his side from relegation.
After the war everyone was still very much on edge and that is something you could only expect. Jack knew Bert being German would be a massive problem for his squad and told him not to speak, something Bert immediately did the opposite to. This makes the squad angry but when Bert performs so well on the pitch and they realise that he is actually not a bad person they all very much warm to his heroics during the games. Bert also begins to work in the shop and eventually gets on the good side of Margaret his daughter.
Football is not really the main thing in this film it is very much about Bert’s journey, this just so happens to include football but he manages to chance perceptions from the English people. It is clear to see that they thought anyone fighting for Germany is a Nazi and like Hitler. In reality though these men did not have any choice really, they had to fight or they would be killed. I guess that is only something we can look at logically now.
Bert is free to return to Germany but when Manchester City offer him the chance to play when Jock Thomson was on a scouting assignment they want him to replace their current goalkeeper who is about to retire. At the end of the season the team of St Helens gift Bert and this really shows the breakthrough in relations. However signing for Man City is about to create absolute chaos in that fan base and the league for allowing a German to play. Along with this he marries Margaret and it really does seem as though everything works out for him. Between 1949-1956 he plays for Man City (until 1964 overall) and makes it to the FA Cup Final, it really shows that football has always had an unbelievable power to change opinions and unite people.
David Kross was a true joy to watch this film and really is fantastic as Bert Trautmann, capturing a fantastic character who was so much more than just a solider in the war. This would be proven when he managed to become the first foreign player to win English Player of the Year.
While the starting subject matter with the war is obviously brutal we get some incredible moments throughout the film and that is something that I really enjoyed. Showing that sport could offer a way out and that romance could happen as well even in the most unlikely of circumstances. This is a film that should have a much bigger audience than it has been allowed, it was given a very limited cinema release.