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Man of Straw (1951)
"Der Untertan" (original title)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 600 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 10 critic

Diederich Heßling is scared of everything and everyone. But as he grows up, he comes to realize that he has to offer his services to the powers-that-be if he wants to wield power himself. ... See full summary »

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Title: Man of Straw (1951)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Werner Peters ...
Paul Esser ...
Regierungspräsident von Wulckow
Renate Fischer ...
Ernst Legal ...
Pastor Zillich
Raimund Schelcher ...
Dr. Wolfgang Buck
Eduard von Winterstein ...
Buck sen.
Friedrich Maurer ...
Fabrikant Göpel
Sabine Thalbach ...
Agnes Göpel
Hannsgeorg Laubenthal ...
Mahlmann
Friedrich Gnaß ...
Napoleon Fischer
Wolfgang Kühne ...
Dr. Mennicke
Fritz Staudte ...
Amtsgerichtsrat Kühlemann
Wolfgang Heise ...
Leutnant von Brietzen
Axel Triebel ...
Major Kunze
Arthur Schröder ...
Landgerichtsdirektor
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Storyline

Diederich Heßling is scared of everything and everyone. But as he grows up, he comes to realize that he has to offer his services to the powers-that-be if he wants to wield power himself. His life motto now runs: bow to those at the top and tread on those below. In this way, he always succeeds: as a student in a duel-fighting student fraternity and as a businessman in a paper factory. He cajoles the obese district administrative president Von Wulkow and wins his favor. He slanders his financial rivals and hatches a plot with the social democrats in the town council. On his honeymoon with his rich wife Guste, he finally finds a chance to do his beloved Kaiser a favor. And when a memorial to the Kaiser is unveiled in the town where Diederich lives and works, he delivers the address. He stands behind the lectern in the pouring rain, saluting his Kaiser. The crowd is dispersed. Everything is laid in ruins... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

31 August 1951 (East Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Underdog  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
As great as Fritz Lang's "M"
19 October 2003 | by (Vienna) – See all my reviews

This is a must see movie. Werner Peters and all the other cast members deliver superb performances. It has got an ensemble of top german character actors playing together on the same high level as we are used to get from the best of Preston Sturges' movies.

The photography of Robert Baberske is a sheer delight, both lighting and framing are masterly done.

If you have enjoyed Fritz Lang's "M" than you certainly will enjoy this one. The appeal of the story and characters may a bit more specific german, but the moral and "message" is timeless and is true to all western societies.

Comedic film jewels like this are not made anymore - this makes it even less understandable that there is no DVD version around yet. (I know for certain that a top notch flawless negative for a digital transfer exists !!!)


7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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