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Despair (1978)

Germany in the early 1930s. Against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise, Hermann Hermann, a Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, goes slowly mad. It begins with his seating himself in a chair ... See full summary »

Writers:

Tom Stoppard (screenplay), Vladimir Nabokov (novel)
Reviews
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, Hermann Hermann, a Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, goes slowly mad. It begins with his seating himself in a chair to observe himself making love to his wife, Lydia, 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, an itinerant laborer, whom he delusionally believes looks exactly like himself. Armed with a new life insurance policy, he hatches an elaborate plot in the belief it will free him of all 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

The lead central character portrayed by Dirk Bogarde had the same first and last name: "Hermann Hermann". In the source "Despair" ("Otchayanie") Russian novel by Vladimir Nabokov, the character does not have a repeated name, and is not called Hermann Hermann, but Hermann Karlovich. In the earlier classic Vladimir Nabokov filmed adaptation, the James Mason character in Stanley Kubrick's Lolita (1962) also had a double name: "Humbert Humbert". See more »

Connections

Featured in Dirk Bogarde: By Myself (1992) 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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