1 9 5 9 (East Germany)
Based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Tinderbox tells the story of a poor young soldier who meets a witch on his return from battle and discovers three chests of copper, silver and gold – and an old tinder-box – in the hollow of an old oak tree.
The witch promises him the gold if he recovers the tinderbox but after a quarrel, he makes off with the gold without handing over the tinderbox and sets himself up in a neighbouring town.
His generosity enables the town to flourish but when his fortune dwindles he is left only with the friendship of the poor and the tinderbox.
He uses the tinderbox to summon three hounds who are ready to grant his wishes and sets about helping a princess, imprisoned in the castle by the king because she would marry a humble soldier rather than a noble prince.
The film originated from East Germany in 1959 (titled Das Feuerzeug and directed by Siegfried Hartmann) and was shown in the UK on the BBC, broadcast in 25-minute chunks with an English narration under the umbrella title Tales from Europe.