IMDb > Man of Straw (1951)

Man of Straw (1951) More at IMDbPro »Der Untertan (original title)

Photos (See all 4 | slideshow)


User Rating:
7.4/10   627 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Up 35% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for Man of Straw on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
31 August 1951 (East Germany) See more »
Diederich Heßling is scared of everything and everyone. But as he grows up, he comes to realize that... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
An interesting interpretation of German history See more (8 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Werner Peters ... Diederich Heßling
Paul Esser ... Regierungspräsident von Wulckow
Renate Fischer ... Guste Daimchen
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
Paul Mederow ... Dr. Heuteufel
Friedrich Richter ... Fabrikbesitzer Lauer
Heinz Keuneke ... Gottlieb Hornung
Richard Landeck ... Warenhausbesitzer Neumann
Ernst Wehlau ... Sötbier
Kurt-Otto Fritsch ... Junger Arbeiter
Blandine Ebinger ... Frau von Wulkow
Carola Braunbock ... Emmi Heßling
Emmy Burg ... Magda Heßling
Gertrud Bergmann ... Mutter Heßling
Erich Nadler ... Vater Heßling
Antje Ruge ... Jungfrau von Orleans
Friedel Nowack ... Frau Göpel
Viola Recklies ... Junge Arbeiterin
Oskar Höcker ... Landgerichtsrat Fritzsche
Georg August Koch ... Geheimer Medizinalrat
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Günther Ballier ... Mann (uncredited)
Fredy Barten ... Mann (uncredited)
Maria Besendahl ... Frau (uncredited)
Egon Brosig ... Mann (uncredited)
Elka Haedrich ... Frau (uncredited)
Hannjo Hasse ... Mann (uncredited)
Georg Helge ... Mann (uncredited)
Johannes Maus ... Mann (uncredited)
Hans Olaf Moser ... (uncredited)
Edgar Pauly ... (uncredited)
Peter Peterz ... Wiebel (uncredited)
Günther Polensen ... Mann (uncredited)
Martin Rickelt ... (uncredited)
Harry Riebauer ... (uncredited)
Hans Rose ... Mann (uncredited)
Käthe Scharf ... Frau (uncredited)
Hilma Schluter ... Frau (uncredited)
Horst Schönemann ... Mann (uncredited)
Steffie Spira ... (uncredited)
Friedrich Teitge ... Mann (uncredited)
Albert Venohr ... Mann (uncredited)
Egon Vogel ... (uncredited)
Charles Hans Vogt ... Mann (uncredited)
Bella Waldritter ... Frau (uncredited)
Gerd Wolfrum ... Mann (uncredited)

Directed by
Wolfgang Staudte 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Heinrich Mann  novel "Der Untertan"
Fritz Staudte 
Wolfgang Staudte 

Original Music by
Horst Hans Sieber 
Cinematography by
Robert Baberske 
Film Editing by
Johanna Rosinski 
Production Design by
Karl Schneider 
Erich Zander 
Costume Design by
Walter Schulze-Mittendorff 
Makeup Department
Willy Roloff .... makeup artist
Alois Strasser .... makeup artist
Production Management
Fritz Brix .... unit manager
William Neugebauer .... unit manager
Willi Teichmann .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Hanna Bark .... assistant director
Werner Reinhold .... assistant director
Sound Department
Erich Schmidt .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Günter Marczinkowsky .... assistant camera
Eduard Neufeld .... still photographer
Other crew
Hans Robert Bortfeld .... script editor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Der Untertan" - East Germany (original title)
"The Kaiser's Lackey" - International (English title)
"The Subject" - International (English title)
"The Underdog" - USA (informal English title)
See more »
109 min | West Germany:97 min (cut version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Finland:K-16 | Germany:12 (video rating) | Sweden:15 | West Germany:16 (f) (original rating) | West Germany:12 (f) (re-rating) | West Germany:(Banned) (1951-1956)


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
An interesting interpretation of German history, 8 July 2011
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

To fully understand "The Kaiser's Lackey" (of "Man of Straw"), you need to understand who made the film and the purpose of it. This is an East German film and in the view of the German Democratic Republic (the Soviet-controlled East Germans), the enemies of the State are the upper and middle classes--particularly those who control the means of production (this is from Socialism 101 as taught by Professor Marx). So, the film looks at the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II as a struggle between the workers and these ultra-nationalists--in a single representative town and featuring a particularly nasty and soul-less man (Diederich Heßling). The film follows Heßling from his childhood to adulthood--during which he used his position and privilege to exploit or ignore those beneath him, while sucking up to all those above him in the social system.

While not obviously funny when you watch it today, the film is social satire. Naturally, the film was the party line in East Germany and was embraced. However, its reinterpretation of history (which ignored liberal reforms and blamed the Prussian middle-class and militarism on the Nazis) did not sit well in the West--especially since West Germany was being rebuilt and molded by the middle and upper classes. Because of this, the film was at first suppressed and only allowed to be released with a few judicious edits---most of which seem very harmless today but which were fuel for the Cold War at the time. Much of this analysis is NOT because I am some sort of a genius--the special features on the DVD featured a professor from UMass-Amhearst that analyzed and explained the film--something that you should definitely see.

Well acted and thought-provoking. While its history lesson is a bit simplistic, it is well made and quite compelling.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (8 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Man of Straw (1951)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
filming location? Musikdrama
DVD Review of the Kaiser's Lackey cinta5
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Thank You for Smoking Potiche Dodsworth Daens A Face in the Crowd
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
IMDb Comedy section IMDb East Germany section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.