7.3/10
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9 user 11 critic

Man of Straw (1951)

Der Untertan (original title)
Diederich Heßling is scared of everything and everyone. But as he grows up, he comes to realize that he has to offer his services to the powers-that-be if he wants to wield power himself. ... See full summary »

Director:

Wolfgang Staudte

Writers:

Heinrich Mann (novel), Fritz Staudte | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Werner Peters ... Diederich Heßling
Paul Esser ... Regierungspräsident von Wulckow
Renate Fischer Renate Fischer ... Guste Daimchen
Ernst Legal Ernst Legal ... Pastor Zillich
Raimund Schelcher Raimund Schelcher ... Dr. Wolfgang Buck
Eduard von Winterstein Eduard von Winterstein ... Buck sen.
Friedrich Maurer Friedrich Maurer ... Fabrikant Göpel
Sabine Thalbach ... Agnes Göpel
Hannsgeorg Laubenthal Hannsgeorg Laubenthal ... Mahlmann
Friedrich Gnaß Friedrich Gnaß ... Napoleon Fischer
Wolfgang Kühne Wolfgang Kühne ... Dr. Mennicke
Fritz Staudte Fritz Staudte ... Amtsgerichtsrat Kühlemann
Wolfgang Heise Wolfgang Heise ... Leutnant von Brietzen
Axel Triebel ... Major Kunze
Arthur Schröder ... Landgerichtsdirektor
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Storyline

Diederich Heßling is scared of everything and everyone. But as he grows up, he comes to realize that he has to offer his services to the powers-that-be if he wants to wield power himself. His life motto now runs: bow to those at the top and tread on those below. In this way, he always succeeds: as a student in a duel-fighting student fraternity and as a businessman in a paper factory. He cajoles the obese district administrative president Von Wulkow and wins his favor. He slanders his financial rivals and hatches a plot with the social democrats in the town council. On his honeymoon with his rich wife Guste, he finally finds a chance to do his beloved Kaiser a favor. And when a memorial to the Kaiser is unveiled in the town where Diederich lives and works, he delivers the address. He stands behind the lectern in the pouring rain, saluting his Kaiser. The crowd is dispersed. Everything is laid in ruins... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Debut of actress Sabine Thalbach . See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was banned in West Germany from 1951-1956. In 1956 a censored version was released. The film was shown uncut for the first time in 1971 on TV. See more »

User Reviews

 
As great as Fritz Lang's "M"
19 October 2003 | by mingus_xSee all my reviews

This is a must see movie. Werner Peters and all the other cast members deliver superb performances. It has got an ensemble of top german character actors playing together on the same high level as we are used to get from the best of Preston Sturges' movies.

The photography of Robert Baberske is a sheer delight, both lighting and framing are masterly done.

If you have enjoyed Fritz Lang's "M" than you certainly will enjoy this one. The appeal of the story and characters may a bit more specific german, but the moral and "message" is timeless and is true to all western societies.

Comedic film jewels like this are not made anymore - this makes it even less understandable that there is no DVD version around yet. (I know for certain that a top notch flawless negative for a digital transfer exists !!!)


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Details

Country:

East Germany

Language:

German | French

Release Date:

31 August 1951 (East Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Underdog See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Deutsche Film (DEFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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