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Jail Bait (1973)
"Wildwechsel" (original title)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  9 January 1973 (West Germany)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 210 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

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Title: Jail Bait (TV Movie 1973)

Jail Bait (TV Movie 1973) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Credited cast:
Harry Baer ...
Franz Bermeier
Marquard Bohm ...
Police Official
Rudolf Waldemar Brem ...
Ruth Drexel ...
Hilda Schneider
El Hedi ben Salem ...
Franz's friend
Irm Hermann ...
Police Official
Klaus Löwitsch ...
Eva Mattes ...
Hanni Schneider
Kurt Raab ...
Factory Boss
Karl Scheydt ...
Jörg von Liebenfelß ...
Erwin Schneider


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Release Date:

9 January 1973 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Jail Bait  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


DEM 550,000 (estimated)

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Spoofed in Teen-Age Jail Bait (1973) See more »


You Are My Destiny
Written and Performed by Paul Anka
See more »

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User Reviews

Twisted Young Lovers
7 April 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Tonight I saw the infamous Wildwechsel, or Jail Bait, at the Museum of Modern Art. This movie lives up to it's reputation as one of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's darkest and most perverse movies. And that's really saying something.

Eva Mattes, age 18, plays Hanni, age 14. Hanni willingly has a sexual relationship with Franz, age 19 (played by Harry Baer). Hanni looks older than her age--say, 4 years older--as we cannot help but notice, since Hanni is nude or hornily pulling her clothes off in scene after scene. Franz gets busted for sleeping with a minor, but Hanni still wants him, and it all goes downhill from there.

This is an extraordinary level of cinematic manipulation by Fassbinder. He makes the audience feel guilty for watching a 14 year old girl (even though we know she is fictional), naked on the screen, in sexual situations. The only people who don't realize that Hanni is a sexual being are her conservative (Nazi daddy) parents, who blame Hanni for ruining their lives. Death threats, suicide threats, and tragedy upon tragedy ensue.

The emotional "vicious circles", (Elsaesser, 1976) are especially vicious in Jail Bait: the parent/child relationships go from bleak to bleaker to bleakest. None of the four main characters are sympathetic, and Hanni, the ostensible victim, has the blackest soul of them all.

MOMA's print was vintage '72 and kind of a dirty faded unrestored mess, especially at the very beginning. But that is a minor complaint. Jailbait contains early use of key Fassbinder imagery which return in film after film: the slaughterhouse, a child's dolls, and the ever present mirrors. The performances from Harry Baer and Eva Mattes as star crossed, twisted young lovers are heart wrenching.

Seeing Jail Bait, there is no wonder why it has never been released on VHS or DVD--this film truly pushes and challenges the limits of decency, in many ways. That's what makes it classic, essential Fassbinder.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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