«Zu neuen Ufern» by Detlef Sierk (Douglas Sirk) is a melodrama from 1937 shot in Germany but set in Victorian England and later Australia. The star of the film is Zarah Leander in the role of London singer Gloria, who is accused of having forged a check and sent to a penitentiary in Australia.
There in the famous “Paramatta” penitentiary she will be imprisoned for seven years until Henry a wealthy farmer will pick her as a wife. Still in love with Major Finsbury, who wrote song for her back in England and now serves the Australian Governor, she flees from Henry. She later hears that Finsbury is engaged to the governor’s daughter and will sing her sadest song “Ich wart auf dich im Regen” (I wait for you in the rain) at some lousy Sidney theater. Of course there’s a rather happy ending for her at least.
The film is one of the early sound films. Zarah Leander, top star in Germany at that time plays a mostly depressed Gloria and keeps us wondering, how and why she was such a celebrity back in time. This film has similarities with Sirk’s “Shockproof” from 1948: A woman who sat in prison is set free and tries her luck with a new man… At least I can’t help but seeing parallels between the two even though they were realised in different times and countries.