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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle (original title)
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.

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5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Walter Ladengast ...
Professor Daumer
Brigitte Mira ...
Kathe, Servant
Willy Semmelrogge ...
Circus director
Michael Kroecher ...
Lord Stanhope
Hans Musäus ...
Unknown Man
Henry van Lyck ...
Cavalry Captain
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
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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


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  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Werner Herzog's said at his Rogue Film School, that the following scenes were shot with a Super-8mm camera: a) The opening scene on the river. b) The montage of landscape shots early in the film. c) Right after the man in black teaches Kaspar how to walk. d) The Caucasus pyramid sequence. e) The caravan in the desert with the old man tasting the sand. Herzog talked about how, for some of the landscape shots early in the film, he mounted a telephoto lens on the end of wide angle lens onto his Super 8 camera. This distorted the edges of the images and created a white/halo effect around the frame. On the DVD audio commentary of this film, he mentions how for the Caucasus pyramid sequence he projected the image onto a screen and then re-photographed the image with a 35mm camera at a different frame rate from the projected speed. He also used this technique with the caravan in the desert sequence. See more »

Goofs

In the autopsy scene, the operating table is equipped with an exhaust pipe which is white and smooth. It looks like plastic, because no material of that era could have a similar appearance, also the pipes at that time were made of lead. See more »

Quotes

Kaspar Hauser: It seems to me that my coming into this world was a very hard fall.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: One Sunday in 1828 a ragged boy was found abandoned in the town of N. He could hardly walk and spoke but one sentence.

Later, he told of being locked in a dark cellar from birth. He had never seen another human being, a tree, a house before.

To this day no one knows where he came from - or who set him free.

Don't you hear that horrible screaming all around you? That screaming men call silence? See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sanctuary (2008) 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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