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The Devil's Lieutenant (1984)

TV Movie  |   |  11 January 1984 (UK)
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In the pre-WWI Austro-Hungarian Empire, an older officer (Capt. Kunze) investigates a brilliant junior officer (Lt. Dorfrichter) suspected of complicity in a murder by poisoning.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Credited cast:
Helmut Griem ...
Judge Advocate Kunze
First Lieutenant Dorfrichter
Marianne Dorfrichter
Lily Wencel
Robert Dietl ...
General Wencel
Rose von Siebert
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Vlastimil Bedrna
Matteo Corvino ...
Lieutenant Vannini
Dr. Goldschmiedt
Benno Felling ...
Lieutenant Stoklaska
Raimund Folkert
Renee Goddard ...
Mrs. Gruber
Miguel Herz-Kestranek ...
Captain Mader
Karel Karas-Kratochvil ...
(as Karel Kratochvil)
Mijou Kovacs ...
Anna Gabriel (as Marie José Kovacs)


In the pre-WWI Austro-Hungarian Empire, an older officer (Capt. Kunze) investigates a brilliant junior officer (Lt. Dorfrichter) suspected of complicity in a murder by poisoning.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Official Sites:


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Release Date:

11 January 1984 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Der Leutnant und sein Richter  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Murder in pre-war Vienna
14 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In the glittering pre-war Vienna of 1909, the captains, majors, and generals of the imperial army have nothing to do but attend social functions and indulge in sexual improprieties. One of them, Captain Mader, reaches for an unsolicited sexual-enhancement nostrum he received in the mail -- but it turns out to be cyanide.

The judge advocate assigned to the murder case, the humble-born and very dedicated Captain Kunze (Helmut Griem, of "Cabaret" fame), develops an obsession with the man who becomes his prime suspect: the brilliant, magnetic young soldier, Lieutenant Peter Dorfrichter (Ian Charleson). Kunze torments himself with the questions: Does he want Dorfrichter to be guilty, or innocent? Does he want him to live, or die? And why?

The superior officers of the army -- and the Emperor himself -- want the case dismissed, and pressure Kunze to drop all charges against any officer. Officers of the imperial army are above the law, and the army must appear without stain.

Meanwhile, as investigations drag on, Lt. Dorfrichter takes to playing cruel mind games with his captor Kunze ....

"The Devil's Lieutenant" is based on M. Fagyas's rich and intriguing 1970 novel of the same name. It, in turn, was based on a true series of events: the Hofrichter Affair -- which not only rocked the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1909, but also made headlines around the world.

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