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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>

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Release Date:

22 July 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Young Torless  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of first movies in New German Cinema period. 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

Featured in Film Review: International Films (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
just to point out a few things...
6 March 2011 | by See all my reviews

1. It's been said here that the gay content of the story has been removed. Well, the novel was released in 1905. We can nowadays interpret elements of the story in a gay context, but back then these notions did not exist. If Schlöndorff hints at homosexuality as an element of perversion, that is in fact faithful to the novel, which takes a strictly observatory, non-participating stance.

2. 'Törless' is often interpreted as an indicator of upcoming intolerance and Nazidom. Again, the novel was released at a much too early time to allow for such an interpretation; the novel's author Robert Musil certainly envisioned the inevitable fall of an empire stuck to tradition and incapable of accommodating personal liberties. Schlöndorff pushes some of the juvenile delinquents into similarities with the Nazis - albeit being carefully ambiguous about it -, but it would be wrong to consider this interpretation as a part of the original narrative.

3. 'Törless' is a highly psychological tale and film - again, Schlöndorff proves faithful to the novel in this respect. But this comes with the weakness of constructing characters around a certain social concept. It would be misleading to consider Törless and his rebellious friends as typical representatives of their era, or real figures upon which the author based his characters. As may be more obvious in Musil's masterpiece, 'The Man without Qualities', his characters are crafted to evoke rather a situation than a person; that makes his books almost impossible to adapt correctly.

Schlöndorff's film is somewhat middlebrow; it does not intend to be a substitute for reading the novel, but at the same time it carefully avoids to give the impression that it is anything but a rendition of it. That's not quite true; the interpretation is in the framing, the omissions of the subtext, and that the ideas upon watching the film differ considerably from those you get when you read the novel. One may call it therefore a failure - but an interesting failure to watch.


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