"Unter den Brücken is actually my favorite film. Anyone who sees it today would not be able to understand that at the time, when there was no future any more and Germany's final collapse was a question of days, it was possible to film such a simple, almost idyllic story.... When I really think about it, what we did arose from the film makers' stubbornness to allow any of the horror which surrounded us to seep into our work." -Helmut Käutner, director
Under the Bridges is available on an R2 DVD by FilmMuseum.
I found the Käutner quote in Silberman's German Cinema: Texts in Context, in a note to Ch.6 (about Käutner's Romance in a Minor Key). It comes from an interview Käutner did with a certain Henning Harmssen, though I can't find the text of this interview on the web. Please tell me if you know where to find the full interview (in English).
For more on Käutner, see: Who is Helmut Käutner? review, Film Reference, Film Among the Ruins. For a review of Under the Bridges, see Shooting Down Pictures.
Although there seems to be academic interest in Third Reich films, there isn't much critical interest. The reasons are clear, but perhaps mistaken. We politicize and other Nazi Germany, and it might be difficult to approach these films in any other way; but the skill I witnessed here warrants investigation. What fascinates me most, illustrated by the director's quote above, is the desperate affirmation of life in a time of death -- and this perhaps is what draws me to escapism, that wonderfully dark void beneath the naive charm. With simplicity and beauty, terror; one crosses to death not with tears but with song. Am I alone in this affinity?