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Martha (I) (1974)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  28 May 1974 (West Germany)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,566 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 28 critic

A single woman in her early thirties, Martha (Margit Carstensen) is on vacation with her father in Rome when he has a heart attack and falls down dead. She reacts rather indifferently and ... See full summary »

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Title: Martha (TV Movie 1974)

Martha (TV Movie 1974) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Margit Carstensen ...
Martha Salomon, née Heyer
Karlheinz Böhm ...
Barbara Valentin ...
Marianne
Peter Chatel ...
Kaiser
Gisela Fackeldey ...
Mother Heyer
Adrian Hoven ...
Father Heyer
Ortrud Beginnen ...
Erna
Wolfgang Schenck ...
Meister
Günter Lamprecht ...
Dr. Herbert Salomon
El Hedi ben Salem ...
Hotel guest
Rudolf Lenz ...
Porter
Kurt Raab ...
Secretary - German embassy
Elma Karlowa ...
Waitress
Heide Simon ...
Nurse
Lilo Pempeit ...
(as Lieselotte Eder)
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Storyline

A single woman in her early thirties, Martha (Margit Carstensen) is on vacation with her father in Rome when he has a heart attack and falls down dead. She reacts rather indifferently and returns home to her highly-strung mother and begins to new era of her life taking care of a completely ungrateful and insulting mother (declining an offer of marriage from her boss). After a barrage of verbal abuse and offensive remarks from her mother who see's her as an 'ugly old spinster' she accepts a proposal of marriage from an equally insulting and disrespectful man, Helmuth. They honeymoon in Italy. While there Helmuth resigns Martha from the job that she loves, sends her mother to a mental institution, and lets his wife get horribly burnt in the sun while sleeping, then painfully rapes her. Martha gets back to Germany to find that Helmuth has rented them a new house, and she will not be able to return to her old home even to collect any of her things, which he says must be left behind her. ... Written by K Wedgwood

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

28 May 1974 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Gymni brosta sto dolofono  »

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of legal reasons, the film wasn't shown for over 20 Years. Cornell Woolrich claimed that the film has a lot similarities to one of his novels. Fassbinder replied, that he first read the story after filming was complete. Nevetheless Woolrich got a writing-credit, and after his death they were able to clear the rights. The first German screening of a restored edition was in November 1997. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Martha Salomon, née Heyer: Yes, father, I'm coming down in a minute. No, father, I'm in the bath now. I'm going later.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A study in weakness
31 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Martha, the titular character of Rainer Fassbinder's 1974 made for TV (but nonetheless acclaimed) film Martha is the kind of character I detest more than any other. If there is one characteristic that defines her it is weakness. Her weakness can be seen from the very beginning, as an early scene shows her as she runs away from an emergency situation. Later, shortly after the death of her father, she begins to try things that her father had forbid her to do; thus it becomes clear that her will has been subsumed by that of her parent. Nonetheless, Martha leads a fairly happy life until she marries a domineering sadist. A good portion of the film portrays her sickening subservience to this petty tyrant and the pitiful efforts she makes to change her situation inevitably worsen it because they are so passive and ineffectual. The plot of this film makes for a maddeningly unpleasant viewing experience.

At the same time, Fassbinder's film-making powers are never less than formidable, particularly in some of the earlier sequences here. Fassbinder sets the early, happy scenes in vast, richly decorated interiors. There are a lot of interesting juxtapositions created through the use of mirror images and unusual angles. Exterior scenes are also visually sumptuous, a bit like the work of French New Wave director Eric Rohmer, Academy ratio and all. Later, as the film turns more miserable the interiors seem to shrink and their uniform lack of design reflect Martha's new hopelessness. The exteriors seem to grow into vast wildernesses at the cost of their former beauty. Needless to say, Fassbinder is adept at using a character's surrounding (and the mise en scene) to suggest that character's mood.

This is the third Fassbinder film I've seen and I must say that while I haven't been blown away by any of his films, his direction remains a strong point in each one. No doubt I'll eventually see one where the other aspects of the film are just as satisfying as the direction. Martha is not that film but it does increase my appreciation for Fassbinder's artistry.


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