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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)
"Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle" (original title)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 10,767 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 56 critic

Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk, and bearing a strange note;... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruno S. ...
Walter Ladengast ...
Professor Daumer
Brigitte Mira ...
Kathe, Servant
Willy Semmelrogge ...
Circus director
Michael Kroecher ...
Lord Stanhope
Hans Musäus ...
Unknown Man
Marcus Weller
Gloria Doer ...
Frau Hiltel
Volker Prechtel ...
Hiltel the prison guard
Herbert Achternbusch ...
Bavarian Chicken Hypnotizer
Wolfgang Bauer
Wilhelm Bayer ...
Taunting Farmboy
Franz Brumbach
Johannes Buzalski
Helmut Döring ...
Little King
Edit

Storyline

Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to speak or walk, and bearing a strange note; he later explained that he had been held captive in a dungeon of some sort for his entire life that he could remember, and only recently was he released, for reasons unknown. His benefactor attempts to integrate him into society, with intriguing results. Written by Mike D'Angelo <mqd8478@is2.nyu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

1 November 1974 (West Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

After Kaspar is left in the town square, there is one shot of him where the way he holds the note, and the way the bandanna is tied, that is different from before or after. See more »

Quotes

Kaspar Hauser: Mother, I am so far away from everything.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Smallville: Stray (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Enigma of Kasper Hauser
11 November 2001 | by See all my reviews

Werner Herzog's film deals with the true story of Kasper Hauser (Bruno S.), a young man who appears, supposedly out of nowhere in a small German town of Nuremberg in 1828. The film deals with Kasper's slow educational process and his introduction into polite society by Professor Daumer (Walter Ladengast). Kasper is a true outsider, and the film looks at the problems this creates (for example, Kasper is unable to believe that god could create the entire universe from scratch, so he his shunned by the church elders).

The films title (The Enigma of Kasper Hauser is just one of many others) seems to sum up the film perfectly. We never really know just who Kasper is and why the mysterious man wants to hurt him; the film ends up giving us more questions than answers. But the beauty of the film lies in the performance of Bruno S. his child like innocence and odd take on life is so pure and beautiful, I love the scene where he talks about how he sowed his name in seeds, and how someone had trodden on it. This seems to be a pretty clear metaphor for the film, how Kasper was crushed by the town folk, and used for social merit.

Herzog's visuals are also fantastic, from the soft focus opening of the boat on the lake; to Kasper's dream of the caravan at the end he fills the film with a mixture of the naturalistic and the surreal. No other director has given his films such an air of the hypnotic and the style works wonders with this story. Kasper Hauser is a beautiful, if at times painfully slow film, that gives us yet another interpretation of the outsider in society, definitely worth the watch.


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