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The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle (original title)
Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to talk or walk, and bearing a strange note.

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog (book)
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5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruno S. ... Kaspar Hauser
Walter Ladengast Walter Ladengast ... Professor Daumer
Brigitte Mira ... Kathe, Servant
Willy Semmelrogge Willy Semmelrogge ... Circus director
Michael Kroecher Michael Kroecher ... Lord Stanhope
Hans Musäus Hans Musäus ... Unknown Man
Henry van Lyck ... Cavalry Captain
Gloria Doer Gloria Doer ... Frau Hiltel
Volker Prechtel ... Hiltel the prison guard
Herbert Achternbusch Herbert Achternbusch ... Bavarian Chicken Hypnotizer
Wolfgang Bauer Wolfgang Bauer
Wilhelm Bayer Wilhelm Bayer ... Taunting Farmboy
Franz Brumbach Franz Brumbach
Johannes Buzalski
Helmut Döring Helmut Döring ... Little King
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Storyline

Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to talk or walk, and bearing a strange note; he later explained that he had been held captive in a dungeon of some sort for his entire life that he could remember, and only recently was he released, for reasons unknown. His benefactor attempts to integrate him into society, with intriguing results. Written by Mike D'Angelo <mqd8478@is2.nyu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German

Release Date:

1 November 1974 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Goofs

In the autopsy scene, the operating table is equipped with an exhaust pipe which is white and smooth. It looks like plastic, because no material of that era could have a similar appearance, also the pipes at that time were made of lead. See more »

Quotes

Kaspar Hauser: Nothing lives less in me than my life.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: One Sunday in 1828 a ragged boy was found abandoned in the town of N. He could hardly walk and spoke but one sentence.

Later, he told of being locked in a dark cellar from birth. He had never seen another human being, a tree, a house before.

To this day no one knows where he came from - or who set him free.

Don't you hear that horrible screaming all around you? That screaming men call silence? See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Enigma of Kasper Hauser
11 November 2001 | by AdFinSee all my reviews

Werner Herzog's film deals with the true story of Kasper Hauser (Bruno S.), a young man who appears, supposedly out of nowhere in a small German town of Nuremberg in 1828. The film deals with Kasper's slow educational process and his introduction into polite society by Professor Daumer (Walter Ladengast). Kasper is a true outsider, and the film looks at the problems this creates (for example, Kasper is unable to believe that god could create the entire universe from scratch, so he his shunned by the church elders).

The films title (The Enigma of Kasper Hauser is just one of many others) seems to sum up the film perfectly. We never really know just who Kasper is and why the mysterious man wants to hurt him; the film ends up giving us more questions than answers. But the beauty of the film lies in the performance of Bruno S. his child like innocence and odd take on life is so pure and beautiful, I love the scene where he talks about how he sowed his name in seeds, and how someone had trodden on it. This seems to be a pretty clear metaphor for the film, how Kasper was crushed by the town folk, and used for social merit.

Herzog's visuals are also fantastic, from the soft focus opening of the boat on the lake; to Kasper's dream of the caravan at the end he fills the film with a mixture of the naturalistic and the surreal. No other director has given his films such an air of the hypnotic and the style works wonders with this story. Kasper Hauser is a beautiful, if at times painfully slow film, that gives us yet another interpretation of the outsider in society, definitely worth the watch.


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