The Steel Animal (1954)
1h 15min · Documentary, Comedy, Drama · 7 February 1954
In present day Germany, by 6:30 a.m., the railway workers are waiting the opening of the factory's door to start a new day of hard work. Inside, Engineer Klaassen is still awake, as all night long he planned, measured diagrams, used his algorithm tables, made calculations and drew more geometric figures for a new steam locomotive. The labor force works fast, and step by step the steel animal gains form and glints, the intellectual project gains life. Klaassen receives a phone call, and he is happy with his transfer to head the railway line's controlling team. He accepts well his change of job, but when he meets his co-workers, uncultured and rough people, he starts having second thoughts. However, he takes it easy, recognizes that they're highly trained works, and teaches them a number of (flashback) stories of pioneers of the present steam train: the early invention by Denis Papin (1679); the three legendary land-surveyors of Caton Hill; the 1769 experiment by Nicolas-Joseph De Cugnot; the 1813 machine test of William Hedley; the 1829 developments by Robert Stephenson; and finally the grand opening of the first German steam railway line of Nürnberg-Fürth - stories in which man's will to conquer the machine was sometimes met with disaster. Klaassen has time to spend with his fellow workers, even to spend some of his accumulated energy in a couple of wrestling matches - until he conquers his own steam engine, and directs her commanding power.
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