The Great Sacrifice (1944)
"Opfergang" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  1954 (West Germany)
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Albrecht & Octavia & Äls, form a triangle from families of idle intellectuals, prone to Neitsche. Nature loving Äls is gravely ill. Further tragedy looms as Albrecht contracts typhoid bringing Äls' foster child out of an infected area.



(novel) (as R.G. Binding) , , 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
Carl Raddatz ...
Kristina Söderbaum ...
Äls Flodéen
Irene von Meyendorff ...
Octavia Froben
Franz Schafheitlin ...
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ...
Sanitätsrat Terboven
Otto Treßler ...
Senator Froben
Annemarie Steinsieck ...
Frau Froben
Edgar Pauly ...
Charlotte Schultz ...
Ludwig Schmitz ...
Frida Richard ...
Frau Steinkamp
Paul Bildt ...
F.W. Schröder-Schrom ...
(as Franz Schroeder-Schrumm)


Albrecht is a son in a family of wealthy intellectuals that has a seaside estate near Hamburg. In early adulthood, when he returns from his around the world trip, he is expected to settle down and marry the beautiful Octavia. One day while rowing alone, Albrecht meets the similarly ravishing Äls, a Finnish woman who migrates to Germany annually for her medical treatment, as she is probably terminally ill. It turns out they live near each other, and subsequently both go horse riding together often. Albrecht becomes very friendly with Äls, and Äls begins to love Albrecht. Albrecht marries Octavia and the married couple move from Hamburg to Düsseldorf. The Düsseldorf lifestyle or society does not agree with Octavia and so they move back to another estate near Hamburg, and very near Octavia. Over time Äls' health slowly deteriorates and Albrecht visits her estate's front gate each day on horseback, where Äls can see Albrecht through the window from her sickbed. An outbreak of Typhoid ... Written by Donald Bruce Telfer

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Release Date:

1954 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Amar é Perdoar  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Eternal masterpiece
8 October 2005 | by ( – See all my reviews

A truly wonderful piece of film-making. One might try to ridicule it as a Nazi propaganda vehicle, but the truth is, this film is much too good to really suffer for these accusations. Yes, there is the presence of the Nazi principle of sacrifice, and things like "Kraft durch Freude" (strength through joy) are said, but this really doesn't matter. The atmosphere, the colours, the camera-work - everything is top notch. The actors, too: Kristina Söderbaum, the wife of Harlan and a star in his every film, proves for once that she really could act. Even though she seems very plump in this film, it can be understood why she was considered one of the best European actresses of the period. Her acting here is much better than anywhere else, even though on the over-dramatic side as always. Carl Raddatz was never a handsome leading man, so God only knows why Harlan paired him with Kristina so often. He was a decent actor, though. The Estonian-born Irene von Meyendorff is a woman from another planet and perfect in the role of Octavia, plus an amazingly beautiful woman. About the plot: Albrecht and Octavia live in their vanishing, shadowy world of German nobility, in a gloomy mansion where the blinds are always drawn. To a neighbouring villa a voluptuous Swedish amazon moves, and Albrecht is blinded by her sensuous and sometimes almost vulgar appearance. Even though Äls looks like a proper stake-and-kidney-pie, she is nevertheless marked for death. Now, the question is: who should sacrifice himself/herself for who? A lot of beautiful locations, beautiful gowns and a great masked ball scene.

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