7.7/10
1,885
15 user 30 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 lead Martha to believe Helmut might be trying to kill her.

Writer:

Cornell Woolrich (story "For the Rest of Her Life")
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Fear of Fear (TV Movie 1975)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Margot, who lives in a comfortable middle class apartment, fears that she is losing her mind after having had her second child. Her husband Kurt, who is busy studying for an exam, does not ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Margit Carstensen, Ulrich Faulhaber, Brigitte Mira
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In the nineteenth century, seventeen year old Effi Briest is married to the older Baron von Instetten and moves into a house, that she believes has a ghost, in a small isolated Baltic town.... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Wolfgang Schenck, Ulli Lommel
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

This drama follows the last few days in the life of Elvira (formerly Erwin) Weisshaupt. Years before, Erwin told a co-worker, Anton, that he loved him. "Too bad, you aren't a woman," he ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Volker Spengler, Ingrid Caven, Gottfried John
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Hans Epp is a self-destructive man who lives a dissatisfied life. He tries to find meaning as a fruit vendor, but a heart attack impedes his ability to work, which turns his dissatisfaction into despair.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hans Hirschmüller, Irm Hermann, Hanna Schygulla
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Frau Kusters is preparing dinner late one seemingly ordinary afternoon in her seemingly ordinary kitchen in Frankfurt, Germany. Mrs. Kusters wants to add canned sausages to the stew, her ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Brigitte Mira, Ingrid Caven, Margit Carstensen
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man is interviewed by a sympathetic woman. His tale unfolds, of hard work that never pleases his parents, of a father who denigrates his efforts, of an indifferent mother. He builds them ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Vitus Zeplichal, Elke Aberle, Alexander Allerson
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Both the parents of a young teen who walks with crutches, goes on each their secret meeting with lovers, both surprising each other at the family's county home. The daughter arrives and initiates a guessing game of "Chinese roulette".

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Anna Karina, Margit Carstensen, Brigitte Mira
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

With slicked-down hair and three-piece suits, dependable Herr Raab is a technical draftsman. He gets along with his colleagues although his boss wants him to go beyond technical cleanliness... See full summary »

Directors: Michael Fengler, Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Lilith Ungerer, Kurt Raab, Lilo Pempeit
Satan's Brew (1976)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Walter, a German anarchist poet, is short of money after his publisher refuses to give him an advance. He tries various ways of raising money, including shooting one of his mistresses and ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Kurt Raab, Margit Carstensen, Helen Vita
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young West German working-class man wins the lottery and initiates a relationship with a man above his social standing.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Peter Chatel, Karlheinz Böhm
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

On a film set there are two things missing, the film material and the director. So the actors and actresses as well as the crew try to make the best out of the situation. When the director ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Lou Castel, Eddie Constantine, Marquard Bohm
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A mogul merrily funds terrorists to boost his computer sales, by panicking West German government and industry c. 1980, as the third generation of Western European left-wing activists forms... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Eddie Constantine, Hanna Schygulla, Volker Spengler
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 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

Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German | Italian

Release Date:

28 May 1974 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Gymni brosta sto dolofono See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 500,000 (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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Because of legal reasons, the film wasn't shown for over 20 Years. Cornell Woolrich 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. Nevetheless Woolrich got a writing-credit, and after his death they were able to clear the rights. 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A study in weakness
31 December 2009 | by timmy_501See all my reviews

Martha, the titular character of Rainer Fassbinder's 1974 made for TV (but nonetheless acclaimed) film Martha is the kind of character I detest more than any other. If there is one characteristic that defines her it is weakness. Her weakness can be seen from the very beginning, as an early scene shows her as she runs away from an emergency situation. Later, shortly after the death of her father, she begins to try things that her father had forbid her to do; thus it becomes clear that her will has been subsumed by that of her parent. Nonetheless, Martha leads a fairly happy life until she marries a domineering sadist. A good portion of the film portrays her sickening subservience to this petty tyrant and the pitiful efforts she makes to change her situation inevitably worsen it because they are so passive and ineffectual. The plot of this film makes for a maddeningly unpleasant viewing experience.

At the same time, Fassbinder's film-making powers are never less than formidable, particularly in some of the earlier sequences here. Fassbinder sets the early, happy scenes in vast, richly decorated interiors. There are a lot of interesting juxtapositions created through the use of mirror images and unusual angles. Exterior scenes are also visually sumptuous, a bit like the work of French New Wave director Eric Rohmer, Academy ratio and all. Later, as the film turns more miserable the interiors seem to shrink and their uniform lack of design reflect Martha's new hopelessness. The exteriors seem to grow into vast wildernesses at the cost of their former beauty. Needless to say, Fassbinder is adept at using a character's surrounding (and the mise en scene) to suggest that character's mood.

This is the third Fassbinder film I've seen and I must say that while I haven't been blown away by any of his films, his direction remains a strong point in each one. No doubt I'll eventually see one where the other aspects of the film are just as satisfying as the direction. Martha is not that film but it does increase my appreciation for Fassbinder's artistry.


2 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 15 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed