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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