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Town Without Pity (1961)

Approved | | Crime, Drama | March 1961 (Austria)
Four American soldiers stationed near a German village face death in the rape of a local girl and are defended by outside counsel Major Steve Garrett.

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(novel), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Inge Koerner
...
Karin Steinhof
...
Col. Jerome Pakenham
Hans Nielsen ...
Karl Steinhof
...
Trude
...
Cpl. Jim Larkin
...
Cpl. Birdwell "Birdie" Scott
...
Sgt. Chuck Snyder
...
Frau Steinhof
Gerhart Lippert ...
Frank Borgmann
Mal Sondock ...
Pvt. Joey Haines
...
Gen. Stafford
Max Haufler ...
Dr. Urban
Rose Renée Roth ...
Frau Kulig
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Storyline

In 1960 Germany, Army lawyer Major Steve Garrett is assigned to defend four American soldiers charged with raping 16 year-old Karin Steinhof. She was swimming in a nearby river when the four of them came across her and they were soon arrested thereafter. Maj. Garrett is anything but impressed with his clients but his job is to give them the best defense possible. He tries to obtain a plea bargain but Karin's father flatly refuses and the prosecutor, Colonel Jerome Pakenham, is seeking the death penalty. In order for the death penalty to be applied, the defense attorney must have the opportunity to thoroughly examine the victim under oath. He sympathizes with Karin and does his best to convince Karin father to keep her from testifying. When he refuses, Garrett is left will little choice but to attack her on the stand. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of What Four Men Did To a Girl... And What the Town Did To Them!

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

|

Release Date:

March 1961 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Shocker  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mal Sondock, who played the defendant "Private Joey Haines" was a Texas-born American expatriate who was a disc jockey with AFN while serving with the US Army in Germany. After his enlistment ended in the late 1950s, Sondock stayed in Europe and became famous as a master of ceremonies and radio host at Westdeuscher Rundfunk (WDR) in Cologne. He hosted a very popular American music show on WDR, "Mal Sondock's Hit-Parade". His American-accented German endeared him to his vast audience. He passed away from a long illness in Cologne in 2009, aged 75. See more »

Goofs

Frank swims across the river to be with Karin. However, when he is standing by her, his swim trunks are partially wet and partially dry. See more »

Quotes

Cpl. Jim Larkin: [to bartender] Give me a coke, okay?
Sgt. Chuck Snyder: Look, kid, if you want to have any fun at all in this town, you're gonna have to buy something stronger than Coca-Cola.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Skipped Parts (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Town Without Pity
Music by Dimitri Tiomkin
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Sung by Gene Pitney
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Ugly Hate the Beautiful and the Poor Hate the Rich
3 June 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Town Without Pity, an American-German co-production, involves the crime, trial, and aftermath of four American GIs in occupied Germany raping a teenage girl.

Christine Kaufman who shortly after this film became the second Mrs. Tony Curtis, is attacked and raped by four American soldiers. The four, Frank Sutton, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Blake, and Mal Sondock, are in danger of capital punishment as prescribed by the American Code of Military Justice.

As another reviewer pointed out this was taking place while Germany was still an occupied country. Allied occupation of Germany didn't officially end until 1955 when our High Commissioner to Germany, James B. Conant, became our first ambassador to the German Federal Republic. After that these four would have taken their chances in a German criminal court.

The fact though that they were soldiers also meant that there was no chance for acquittal. What had to be determined was how guilty they were, even to the extent of the ultimate punishment.

Kirk Douglas for the defense and E.G. Marshall for the prosecution make a good pair of adversaries. Marshall would very shortly see how the other half lived as after this film was done, he would star in the long running TV series, The Defenders.

Kirk Douglas is a tiger in the courtroom as he ruthlessly puts Kaufman's own character on trial. It's his job, it's done down to the present day with victims of rape. But he's also a person with conscience, he knows exactly the character of the four men he's charged with the defense of, the character of each of them individually.

Anyway there isn't a player alive who doesn't relish a good courtroom scene and Douglas made the most of his opportunity here. I don't believe Kirk got back in a courtroom until a made for TV remake of Inherit the Wind.

Of the German cast and I note that several including Kaufman have had substantial careers in the German cinema, Barbara Rueting as the German reporter who narrates the film and Gerhard Lippert as Kaufman's boyfriend also stand out.

Of course no discussion of Town Without Pity is complete without the title song which I remember so well blaring from the jukeboxes of 1961. This jazz/rock and roll song was very typical of what was happening in German and other foreign culture, an overwhelming Americanization of same. Gene Pitney sold a lot of records of Town Without Pity back in the day. If you've never seen the film you'll remember the song after seeing it once.

And you'll also remember in terms of attitudes they really are the same. Those little minds will indeed tear you in two.

It's what a Town Without Pity does.


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