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Town Without Pity (1961)

 -  Drama  -  March 1961 (Austria)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 989 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 7 critic

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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Title: Town Without Pity (1961)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Maj. Steve Garrett
Barbara Rütting ...
Inge Koerner
...
Karin Steinhof
...
Col. Jerome Pakenham
Hans Nielsen ...
Karl Steinhof
Ingrid van Bergen ...
Trude
...
Cpl. Jim Larkin
...
Cpl. Birdwell "Birdie" Scott
...
Sgt. Chuck Snyder
Karin Hardt ...
Frau Steinhof
Gerhart Lippert ...
Frank Borgmann
Mal Sondock ...
Pvt. Joey Haines
Alan Gifford ...
Gen. Stafford
Max Haufler ...
Dr. Urban
Rose Renée Roth ...
Frau Kulig
Edit

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:

Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

|

Release Date:

March 1961 (Austria)  »

Also Known As:

Stadt ohne Mitleid  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Christine Kaufmann's American film debut. See more »

Goofs

At the end of the rape scene, Cpl Scott is third to leave. He stands against the tree while telling Jim Larkin to hurry up, and we see his shadow fall strongly on the tree, away from the river. As Scott walks away, we see his shadow primarily fall on the ground the other way, toward the river, and a slighter shadow falling away from the river, revealing the multiple light sources. See more »

Quotes

Col. Jerome Pakenham: This is no cross-examination! It's a circus!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dogville (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Gripping, powerful, shocking for its time.
6 March 2001 | by (Ottawa, Illinois) – See all my reviews

When this film was released in 1961, I remember the ads saying this film was for "Adults Only". (The MPAA rating system didn't exist then.) A film about four soldiers stationed in Germany who gang rape a 16 year old girl and the trial that followed was pretty heavy stuff for audiences back then. I recently saw the film on Turner Classic Movies, and it still holds up very well. It is still startling and powerful, even without nudity and foul language, which should show Hollywood it can be done. You can be "adult" without being unnecessarily vulgar or obscene. As it stands, I would still give this film an "R" rating today.

And, of course, there is the memorable title song, sung by Gene Pitney, which accounted for the film's only (surprisingly) Oscar nomination. Even that lost out to the syrupy "Moon River" from "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

My one complaint about Turner's presentation was with the film's aspect ratio. Instead of showing a widescreen version, they showed a full-frame version with the framing "squeezed" so that faces were somewhat elongated and cars appeared "stubby" and compacted. This became very annoying. Even a pan & scan version would be better than this.

Nonetheless, for sheer power, as well as excellent acting by Kirk Douglas, E.G. Marshall, Christine Kaufmann, and a very young Robert Blake, I highly recommend "Town Without Pity".


19 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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