7.6/10
2,382
17 user 32 critic

Martha (1974)

After the death of her abusive father, the lonely librarian Martha marries an equally vile businessman - Helmut. The cruel and torturous nature of their relationship leads Martha to believe Helmut might be trying to kill her.

Writer:

Cornell Woolrich (story "For the Rest of Her Life")
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Margit Carstensen ... Martha Salomon, née Heyer
Karlheinz Böhm ... Helmut Salomon
Barbara Valentin ... Marianne
Peter Chatel ... Kaiser
Gisela Fackeldey Gisela Fackeldey ... Mother Heyer
Adrian Hoven ... Father Heyer
Ortrud Beginnen Ortrud Beginnen ... Erna
Wolfgang Schenck ... Meister
Günter Lamprecht Günter Lamprecht ... Dr. Herbert Salomon
El Hedi ben Salem ... Hotel guest
Rudolf Lenz Rudolf Lenz ... Porter
Kurt Raab ... Secretary - German embassy
Elma Karlowa ... Waitress
Heide Simon Heide Simon ... Nurse
Lilo Pempeit Lilo Pempeit ... (as Lieselotte Eder)
Edit

Storyline

A single woman in her early thirties, Martha (Margit Carstensen) is on vacation with her father in Rome when he has a heart attack and falls down dead. She reacts rather indifferently and returns home to her highly-strung mother and begins to new era of her life taking care of a completely ungrateful and insulting mother (declining an offer of marriage from her boss). After a barrage of verbal abuse and offensive remarks from her mother who see's her as an 'ugly old spinster' she accepts a proposal of marriage from an equally insulting and disrespectful man, Helmuth. They honeymoon in Italy. While there Helmuth resigns Martha from the job that she loves, sends her mother to a mental institution, and lets his wife get horribly burnt in the sun while sleeping, then painfully rapes her. Martha gets back to Germany to find that Helmuth has rented them a new house, and she will not be able to return to her old home even to collect any of her things, which he says must be left behind her. ... Written by K Wedgwood

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of legal reasons, the film wasn't shown for over 20 Years. Cornell Woolrich right holders claimed that the film has a lot similarities to one of his novels. Fassbinder replied, that he first read the story after filming was complete. Nevertheless Woolrich got a writing-credit. The first German screening of a restored edition was in November 1997. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Martha Salomon, née Heyer: Yes, father, I'm coming down in a minute. No, father, I'm in the bath now. I'm going later.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Auge in Auge - Eine deutsche Filmgeschichte (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26
Composed by Max Bruch
Performed by Isaac Stern
See more »

User Reviews

hysterical
11 June 2005 | by jimi99See all my reviews

Yes, hysterical as in exaggerated comedy, and hysterical as in the title character freaking out over her bizarre, ever-degenerating marriage. This is great Fassbinder film-making--the performances, cinematography, and dialogue are brilliant. As in many of his films, Fassbinder takes a perverse joy in keeping the audience balanced between comedy and melodrama, the laughs always tinged with apprehension. The colors are dominated by lurid reds. The arc of the story keeps one queasy as to how horrible the outcome might be.

The famous Sirk influence is very obvious in this as in many of RF's early 70's films, but what struck me is the equally obvious influence of Bunuel on Fassbinder's movies. "Martha" owes a great deal to "Belle du Jour" and "Tristana" among many other of the Spanish master's films about the natural perversity of male-female relationships.


14 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 17 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German | Italian

Release Date:

28 May 1974 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Marta See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

DEM500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed