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Young Torless (1966)

Der junge Törless (original title)
Approved | | Drama, History, Thriller | 22 July 1968 (USA)
At a boarding school in the pre-war Austro-Hungarian Empire, a pair of students torture one of their fellow classmates, Basini, who has been caught stealing money from one of the two. The ... See full summary »

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Marian Seidowsky ...
Anselm von Basini
Bernd Tischer ...
Beineberg
Fred Dietz ...
Reiting
Lotte Ledl ...
Gastwirtin
Jean Launay ...
Mathematiklehrer
...
Bozena
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Storyline

At a boarding school in the pre-war Austro-Hungarian Empire, a pair of students torture one of their fellow classmates, Basini, who has been caught stealing money from one of the two. The two decide that rather than turn Basini in to the school authorities, they will punish him themselves and proceed to torture, degrade, and humiliate the boy, with ever-increasing sadistic delight. As each day passes, the two boys are able to justify harsher treatment than previously given. Torless is a passive member of the group but observes rather than participates and frustrates the tormentors by dryly analyzing their behavior. Written by Dean Harris <gershom@earthlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

22 July 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Young Torless  »

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First feature film directed by Volker Schlöndorff. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Vater Törless: Beineberg, please keep an eye on my son.
Beineberg: You can count on me, sir.
Vater Törless: That's a relief. I trust you. Something solid and decisive about you won me over instantly. Cigar?
Beineberg: Thank you, sir.
Vater Törless: I wish my boy were more like you. He always seems so insecure, so unbalanced. I have no idea what he'll amount to. I'm glad to have met you all. And knowing our son is with you makes saying goodbye easier. Especially since he's found such good comrades. Gentlemen, please contact us immediately should ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in The South Bank Show: Werner Herzog (1982) See more »

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User Reviews

Deep Drama with thinly veiled message about Nazi Era
30 September 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Set in an indefinite time and place (likely the pre-WWI Germany/Austria), at a boarding school for adolescent boys, one student is caught stealing, and subsequently blackmailed and sadistically terrorized. One of his tormentors (the title character) passively observes much of the brutality against the victim, but eventually is overcome with emotions about his part in the evils inflicted on a fellow-student. An eventual investigation into the incidents by the school board leads the authority figures to believe that this "Young Toeless" is emotionally high strung and unfit to continue his studies at the school.

Thinly veiled commentaries about young males in a society that expects total obedience and loyalty, while fanning flames of hate and urges to feel superior to others. Physical and emotional torture of a peer is shown as intoxicating and thrilling. The title character escapes this "world" by exclaiming that he now understands all about this "mystery", thus needs no longer to be involved. Once all was found out, the "meeting" among the class, where everyone "got their story straight" reminds of the post WWII investigations (culminating in the Nuremberg Trials), when one citizen would vouch for the other and vice versa, insisting all were innocent or "following orders". An emotional maturity is required for viewing this film. I would not recommend it for an audience under the age of 16. Otherwise this is a thought-provoking drama with many discussion points.


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