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The Condemned of Altona (1962)

I sequestrati di Altona (original title)
A maddened German war criminal lives in a secluded house owned by his rich father who lets him think the war is still on 20 years after the fact.


Vittorio De Sica


Jean-Paul Sartre (play), Cesare Zavattini (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Sophia Loren ... Johanna von Gerlach
Maximilian Schell ... Franz von Gerlach
Fredric March ... Albrecht von Gerlach
Robert Wagner ... Werner von Gerlach
Françoise Prévost ... Leni von Gerlach
Gabriele Tinti ... Actor
Rolf Tasna Rolf Tasna
Michela Ricciardi Michela Ricciardi
Dino De Luca Dino De Luca ... (as Dino Di Luca)
Piero Leri Piero Leri
Tonino Cianci Tonino Cianci ... (as Tonino Ciani)
Ekkehard Schall Ekkehard Schall ... Actor


A maddened German war criminal lives in a secluded house owned by his rich father who lets him think the war is still on 20 years after the fact.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Motion Picture As Unusual As The Roles of Its Academy Award Winning Stars! See more »


Drama | History


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Italy | France


Italian | German

Release Date:

30 October 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los condenados de Altona See more »

Filming Locations:

Hamburg, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


According to his autobiography, Robert Wagner didn't get along at all with Maximilien Schell, who had just won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in " Judgment at Nuremberg ". See more »

Alternate Versions

Every reference to National Socialism was cut from the West German version in 1962. See more »


Referenced in The Exterminator (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Secluded and Deluded
23 June 2013 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Perhaps because I saw this film dubbed in Italian with English subtitles and missed the familiar voices of Fredric March, Maximilian Schell, and Robert Wagner I was put off somewhat. But The Condemned Of Altona just did not rise to what I was expecting. Or maybe it was Jean-Paul Sartre's view of the world.

Whatever it was his ideas just did not translate well to the big screen. Meet the family Gerlach, father Fredric March big German industrial tycoon and his children Maximilian Schell, Robert Wagner, and Francoise Prevost. Germany may have lost the war, but her natural resources and the need for an anti-Communist bulwark in the Cold War have made her richer than ever, if de-Nazified.

March has been told he's terminally ill and has six months tops. He's troubled about his choices. The younger son Robert Wagner is not fit material for a tycoon and in the patriarchal society Francoise Prevost is out of the question.

Then there's Maximilian Schell who has self secluded and deluded. He's a wanted war criminal from World War II and he's imposed an exile on himself. He believes because he knows no better that Germany is a vast rubble.

Bringing him out of his exile is Wagner's new wife Sophia Loren who's been wondering about that locked section of that Gothic manor the Gerlachs have for themselves.

As for the rest all I can say is Schell's guilt is the engine that drives the rest of the film. The best part of the film is something that could not be done on stage. Schell finally lose and seeing with his own eyes, the prosperity and the bustling night life that was Hamburg. Wonder if he went to the clubs and found some musicians from Liverpool who would shake the world soon?

I did see this on stage at Lincoln Center a couple of years after the film had been made of Jean-Paul Sartre's play with George Coulouris heading the cast as the family patriarch. As he is often on screen, Coulouris was mesmerizing in self absorption and monomania about seeing his industrial complex carrying on. By contrast March seemed dull and lifeless and this has to rank as one of his lesser films. But not to single him out alone, the whole cast was the same way with the exception of Schell. But he's got the best part of a man who had to enlist in the army after his father got him off from protecting a Rabbi to a man who committed war atrocities on the Russian front.

Sartre was saying that war itself can make people do evil things. And that the true guilty parties never saw any punishment, on the contrary like March they triumphed in defeat.

In other words, what a world.

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