Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester, he's recruited as a soldier in the 2nd World War, but very ... See full summary »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Count von Kaltenborn
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Chief Forester
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Frau Netta
...
...
SS-Officer Raufeisen
...
Professor Blättchen
...
Rachel
Sasha Hanau ...
Martine
Luc Florian ...
Prisoner of War
Laurent Spielvogel ...
Prisoner of War
Marc Duret ...
Prisoner of War
Philippe Sturbelle ...
Prisoner of War
...
Lawyer
Jacques Ciron ...
State Attorney
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Storyline

Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester, he's recruited as a soldier in the 2nd World War, but very soon he is taken prisoner of war. After shortly serving in Goerings hunting lodge, he becomes the dogsbody in Kaltenborn Castle, an elite training camp for German boys. Completely happy to take care of these children, he becomes a servant of Nazism, catching boys from the area as supplies for the camp. Written by Frank Wallner <wallnerf@informatik.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

12 September 1996 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Le roi des aulnes  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,500 (USA) (11 December 1998)

Gross:

$49,166 (USA) (3 September 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

Prior to the school fire, a caption says "Paris 1925". Upon his arrest as an adult, Abel, through his narration, remembers the fire as having happened "twenty years ago". This would place his adult scenes in 1945, but when he joins the French army after his arrest it is before the German occupation of Paris which would place his arrest in 1940. However, Abel is slow-witted and possibly does not have an accurate sense of time. See more »

Quotes

Count von Kaltenborn: Mesmerizing ritual, songs and torches-- hard to resist. You are quite intoxicated by it, are you? The flames, the flags, it's a big show-- quite overwhelming, for a simple mind. Look at him. His father was a grocer in Leipzig. He stands there in his uniform as if he were selling sardines.
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Connections

Featured in Hollywood Profile: John Malkovich (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A brilliant study in disparity (*****)

Known in English as "The Ogre" this has got to be John Malkovich's finest film to date. He plays an ignorant man, Abel, living in a small town at the dawn of the Nazi movement. He seems to be mentally slow, but emotionally heightened as has a great passion for the vitality of the children in the town. He is fond of photographing, especially children. However, due to a mis-understanding, because the people of the small town are so ignorant and afraid of the quiet lumbering Abel, he is sentenced to jail (undeservedly) for the crime of molesting a child. He is transferred to help with the war effort in France, and eventually comes to work for the Nazi party, "recruiting" children for the cause. He, however, does not seem to know what the Nazis stand for, or why he shouldn't be taking in children. He cares for the children as if they were his own, and is eventually persecuted for harbouring a young Jewish boy, which is when he begins to realise the ramifications of his plight.

A brilliantly scripted film (filmed in English despite the foreign origin). A must see. It saddens me, though that it is so difficult to find, and that it was never released in the US (as far as I know).

-jjj


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