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Mädchen in Uniform (1958)

In a strict Prussian boarding school for girls, sensitive student Manuela von Meinhardis develops a forbidden love to one of her teachers, the compassionate Elisabeth von Bernburg.


Géza von Radványi (as Geza Radvanyi)


Christa Winsloe (play), Friedrich Dammann (screenplay) (as F.D. Andam) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Lilli Palmer ... Elisabeth von Bernburg
Romy Schneider ... Manuela von Meinhardis
Therese Giehse ... Headmistress
Blandine Ebinger ... Miss von Racket
Adelheid Seeck ... Princess
Gina Albert ... Marga von Rackow
Sabine Sinjen ... Ilse von Westhagen
Christine Kaufmann ... Mia
Danik Patisson ... Alexandra von Treskow
Ginette Pigeon Ginette Pigeon ... Edelgard von Kleist
Marthe Mercadier ... Madame Aubert
Paulette Dubost ... Johanna
Roma Bahn Roma Bahn ... Wardrobe Mistress
Margaret Jahnen ... Miss Evans
Regine Burghardt Regine Burghardt ... College Girl
Learn more

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After the death of her parents young girl Manuela von Meinhardis is sent to a boarding school where Prussian drill rules the education. Desperately seeking love and warmth in Manuela's heart, emotions for the only human - teacher, Fraeulein von Bernburg, start growing. Manuela falls in love with her, and is just a matter of time until the forbidden love becomes known what immediatly leads to desaster. Written by Antje Kuechler

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


This Startling Motion Picture Will Be the Yardstick By Which People Will Measure Each Other's Sophistication...




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Did You Know?


Actress Therese Giehse once worked with and had a relationship with Erika Mann who appears in the first film version "Mädchen in Uniform" from 1931. See more »


Referenced in Lukas: Junges Glück (2001) See more »

User Reviews

11 October 2018 | by marijapeshikanSee all my reviews

The plot of the movie revolves around the romantic feelings that schoolgirl Manuela develops for her same-sex teacher Madame (Freulein) Elizabeth von Bernburg in 1910 in a catholic boarding school in Prussia. Based on a biographically inspired play by German author Crista Winsloe it is foremost a critic of the old fashioned conservative beliefs that uses the unusual love story as the perfect all-in-one solution to reveal their ugly face. The schoolgirls, their hair tightly restrained, are marching in grey uniforms which are a sort of hybrid between a cooking apron and a military uniform. Deprivation from normal size meals and icy- toned communication are ways by which the Headmistress wants to achieve "zucht, ordnung und abhärtung". (Discipline, order and toughening up). She, the "Madame Superior", is a discipline fanatic that genuinely believes that if she is to fail in maintaining this rigorous regime with the girls, Prussia's own integrity will be at stake one day and anarchy will come to rein. Neither Manuela, nor Madame von Bernburg adhere to this ideology and so their mutual complicity is born. Manuela, the feeble, emotional child, that griefs over her recently deceased mother is the complete opposite of the expected "product" from this strict educational style. The authoritarian teacher is expected to produce though but obedient and submissive women which will make good wives and mothers of soldiers! (Ironically enough, the generation of young women that inspired the original story grew to become mothers of the Nazi soldiers in reality). Madame von Bernburg, on the other hand, is sensitive to the girls need for compassion and support. She shows affection in order to change the old ways that she was also submitted to when being a schoolgirl herself. In the historical era where this story takes place (the Weimar Republic), love between two women was unimaginable, let alone one between a student and it's teacher. The director Géza von Rdvanyi adds the age difference to this "outrageous story" by casting Romy Schneider (Manuela) and Lilli Palmer (Elizabeth von Bernburg) that have 22 years in between. The kiss, the steamy looks and the seemingly wide spread homosexuality subtly implied in most of the conversations between the girls is masterfully disguised as an innocent coming-of-age story. The attention is mainly put on the internal emotional experiences of Manuela, hers "head over hills" for the teacher, the admiration and love that can be divined from her every gesture and word. On the other hand, Ms. Von Bernburg character is more reserved and ambiguous. The Script is perfectly fitted, with no unnecessary ornaments and actresses are made to act naturally, which they do perfectly, with no displaced overdone drama that was common for the movies in the 60's. A noticeable decor in the movie are the quotes of famous authors inscribed as a sort of posters on the otherwise quite empty interior walls of the School. An excellent graphical display of the School's principles. "People exist on this world not to be happy, but to do their duty" "The School of life has no holydays" "We are here to become, not to be" "As the effort, so the harvest" The only one missing from the walls is "Kinder, Kirche, Küche" (Child, Church, Kitchen) presented as the correct destiny of women by the Headmistress. This unique film with its humor, drama and subtleness criticizes conservative practices, homophobia and even nationalism. It is a remarkable piece of art, which, with its modernity resembles to the contemporary movies in every aspect and seems to have been simply misplaced in time.

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West Germany | France



Release Date:

5 November 1958 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Girls in Uniform See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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