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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Release Date:

31 August 1951 (East Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Underdog  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
8 out of 10
18 June 2000 | by (Cologne, Germany) – See all my reviews

Sharply satirical, hilariously funny, intelligent, but also in terms terribly dated comedy about the stupidity, lack of heroism and relentless worship of the German emperor united in the title character, a lazy student. Superb cast delivers right-on-target-performances and the direction is to a point flawless. One of the most influential all-time-classics of German cinema.


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