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Coup de Grâce (1976)

Der Fangschuß (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 17 November 1976 (France)
A countess' unrequited love for an army officer leads to disaster.


Marguerite Yourcenar (novel), Geneviève Dormann (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2 wins. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Matthias Habich ... Erich von Lhomond
Margarethe von Trotta ... Sophie de Reval
Rüdiger Kirschstein ... Conrad von Reval
Marc Eyraud Marc Eyraud ... Dr. Paul Rugen
Bruno Thost Bruno Thost ... Chopin
Henry van Lyck ... Borschikoff
Hannes Kaetner ... Michel
Franz Morak Franz Morak ... Grigori Loew
Frederik von Zichy Frederik von Zichy ... Franz von Aland
Mathieu Carrière ... Volkmar (as Matthieu Carrière)
Valeska Gert ... Tante Praskovia
Alexander von Eschwege Alexander von Eschwege ... Blankenberg
Maria Guttenbrunner Maria Guttenbrunner ... Mutter Loew
Stephan Paryla Stephan Paryla ... Sergeant


A countess' unrequited love for an army officer leads to disaster.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #192. See more »


Sophie de Reval: May I come in?
Erich von Lhomond: Of course. Thank you. It's quite late, Sophie.
Sophie de Reval: I'll just smoke a pipeful. Why did you come to Kratovice of all places, Erich?
Erich von Lhomond: Where should I have gone?
Sophie de Reval: You could have stayed in Paris or Berlin. No one forced you to fight in this war.
Erich von Lhomond: I'm an officer and useless in Berlin.
Sophie de Reval: What are you defending here? Your mother lost everything before the war.
Erich von Lhomond: Perhaps I like lost causes. In any case I've always fought for them.
Sophie de Reval: At least you've none of Konrad's illusions.
Erich von Lhomond: Konrad's beliefs are truer than ...
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Featured in Portrait of Valeska Gert (1977) See more »

User Reviews

Another overrated Schlöndorff
8 June 2009 | by Lichtmesz23See all my reviews

Volker Schlöndorff is one of the most overrated directors of the New German Cinema school, and that shows in some of his most celebrated films, including THE TIN DRUM. His adaptions of literature seldom reach beyond mere illustration and even so Schlöndorff never seems to know what the point of his stories actually is.

DER FANGSCHUSS/COUP DE GRACE is one of his more watchable works, which might be largely due the fine, atmospheric B/W photography. But compared to Margarete Yourcenar's novel Schlöndorff's inability to adopt a proper point of view becomes apparent. The novel is told in first person by the main character Erich von Lhomond; yet in Schlöndorff's version it is never clear if it his or Sophie's story. The erotic obsession Sophie has for Erich, mixed with political adversity, which is so crucial for the story is almost completely missing in the film. It is rather supposed than being actually shown and acted out. Unless you have not read the book you cannot measure Schlöndorff's failure to convey what's actually going on between these two.

The greatest flaw is the miscasting of the director's wife Margarethe von Trotta, who is not only a mediocre actress but who is visibly at least 15 years too old for her character, leaving it pointless and unbelievable. Trotta sucks so badly in her part that it makes the whole film a pain to watch every time she appears on screen.

One of the few truly enjoyable moments is the final screen appearance of legendary actress and Pabst veteran Valeska Gert (THE JOYLESS STREET) in an eccentric supporting part - even though her black dyed hair, heavy make-up and curious antics make her hardly a convincing Baltic German landowner lady of the early 20th century.

DER FANGSCHUSS is a pretentious misunderstanding, like most of Schlöndorff's work.

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France | West Germany


German | French

Release Date:

17 November 1976 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Coup de Grâce See more »

Filming Locations:

Austria See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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