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Despair (1978)

Germany in the early 1930s. Against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise, Herman Hermann (Sir Dirk Bogarde), a Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, goes slowly mad. It begins with him seating ... See full summary »

Writers:

Tom Stoppard (screenplay), Vladimir Nabokov (novel)
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dirk Bogarde ... Herman
Andréa Ferréol ... Lydia
Klaus Löwitsch ... Felix
Volker Spengler ... Ardalion
Armin Meier Armin Meier ... Silverman / Sergeant Brown / Foreman
Peter Kern Peter Kern ... Müller
Adrian Hoven ... Inspector Schelling
Alexander Allerson ... Mayer
Hark Bohm Hark Bohm ... Doctor
Roger Fritz Roger Fritz ... Inspector Braun
Gottfried John ... Perebrodov
Y Sa Lo Y Sa Lo ... Elsie
Lilo Pempeit Lilo Pempeit ... Secretary Schmidt
Ingrid Caven ... Hotel Manager
Voli Geiler Voli Geiler ... 1st Landlady
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Storyline

Germany in the early 1930s. Against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise, Herman Hermann (Sir Dirk Bogarde), a Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, goes slowly mad. It begins with him seating himself in a chair to observe himself making love to his wife, Lydia (Andréa Ferréol), a zaftig empty-headed siren, who is also sleeping with her cousin. Hermann is soon given to intemperate outbursts at his workers, other businessmen, and strangers. Then, he meets Felix (Klaus Löwitsch), an itinerant laborer, who he delusionally believes looks exactly like him. Armed with a new life insurance policy, he hatches an elaborate plot in the belief it will free him of all of his worries. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A "hysterical" comedy

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

West Germany | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 1978 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Despair - Eine Reise ins Licht See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM 6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This movie was released forty-four years after the source novel of the same name by Vladimir Nabokov was published as a serial in the literary journal "Sovremennye Zapiskiin" in 1934, forty-two years after it was published as a novel, forty-one years after its first English language translation by Nabokov was published, and thirteen years after its second English language translation was published, which is the main version of the source novel which is available, as most of the original translations were destroyed by the Germans during World War II. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bitter Movie (1983) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well worth seeing -- don't read the other posters spoilers
28 September 2006 | by crazy_canuck-1See all my reviews

What can I say -- watch the film. And don't read the other posters comments -- he didn't like the film, or even bother finishing it but felt compelled to make a list of pointless spoilers in his useless comments.

This was Fassbinders shot at 'commercialism', which he failed at entirely (thankfully) but we are left with a thoughtful examination of the boundaries between self awareness and delusion. A metaphor for post war Germany? Who am I to be so pretentious ...

Strong performances, provocative script, not a light romp but neither is it a heavy slog.

CC


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