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Hanussen (1988)

A man's story parallels Hitler's rise. Austrian Klaus Schneider, wounded in World War I, recovers in the care of Dr. Emil Bettleheim. Bettleheim discovers that Schneider possesses powers of... See full summary »

Director:

István Szabó

Writers:

Péter Dobai, Erik Jan Hanussen (autobiography) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Klaus Maria Brandauer ... Klaus Schneider / Eric Jan Hanussen
Erland Josephson ... Dr. Bettelheim
Ildikó Bánsági Ildikó Bánsági ... Sister Betty
Walter Schmidinger Walter Schmidinger ... Propaganda chief
Károly Eperjes Károly Eperjes ... Captain Tibor Nowotny
Grazyna Szapolowska ... Valery de la Meer
Colette Pilz-Warren Colette Pilz-Warren ... Dagma
Adrianna Biedrzynska ... Wally
György Cserhalmi ... Count Trantow-Waldbach
Michal Bajor ... Becker
Jirí Adamíra ... Rattinger
Róbert Rátonyi Róbert Rátonyi ... Prof. Gábor
Kalina Jedrusik ... (as Kalyna Dygat Jydrusik)
Gabriela Kownacka ... Wife of Propaganda Chief
Ewa Blaszczyk ... Hennie Stahlová
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Storyline

A man's story parallels Hitler's rise. Austrian Klaus Schneider, wounded in World War I, recovers in the care of Dr. Emil Bettleheim. Bettleheim discovers that Schneider possesses powers of empathy and of clairvoyance, such that could aid suicidal patients. After the war, with one friend as his manager and another as his lover, Schneider changes his name to Eric Jan Hanussen and goes to Berlin, as a hypnotist and clairvoyant performing in halls and theaters. He always speaks the truth, which brings him to the attention of powerful Nazis. He predicts their rise (good propaganda for them) and their violence (not so good). He's in pain and at risk. What is Hanussen's future? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

Hungarian | German

Release Date:

10 March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hanussen, el adivino See more »

Filming Locations:

Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,504, 8 March 1989, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$82,635
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (laserdisc)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Prosecutor: Ah, you are saying you can read people's thoughts.
Klaus Schneider: Yes.
Prosecutor: And you can tell them their future?
Klaus Schneider: Yes.
Prosecutor: May I ask my own future?
Klaus Schneider: You are going to lose this case.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Invincible (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
was history more interesting than the movie?
1 July 2007 | by dromascaSee all my reviews

Biography movies take famous people lives, process, embellish and make them more interesting. Something different seems to happen with Istvan Szabo's 'Hanussen' - though it does have its doze of processing I have the feeling that the real life of the character was more interesting than the life in the movie.

Eric Jan Hanussen was the stage name of a magician in Berlin's 20s and early 30s. His show were not based on special effects, but on an extraordinary capacity of guessing the thoughts, controlling the minds and foreseeing the future of the people in the audience. We can debate to what extent this was real or con art, but there was something true in his charismatic presence and his power of hypnosis. Janussen however remained in history not by his talent as a magician and not even as a hipnotizer, but because he was capable to predict and express in the language of the magicians the ascension to power of Hitler. What now is history trivia was not that obvious in the 20s and beginning of the 30s and the power of prediction of Hanussen was beyond the general level, reaching the level of detail of the fire that destroyed the Reichstag.

Istavan Szabo film goes however far away from the real Hanussen. A visit on the site of the family http://www.steinschneider.com/biography/hanussen_bio.htm reveals a character even more mysterious and fascinating than in the movie. In reality Hanussen was Jewish, but this fact was not known to his Nazi friends. It is not clear whether he was driven by opportunistic reasons or by fear, or by a combination of both, but the real Janussen seems to have been far from the unwilling person, or even opponent as described in the movie, but may have been rather a real sympathizer. It is even said that he even met Hitler, and taught him some crowd control and staging techniques used later by the dictator in his big mass shows. Hard to say why all these details were not presented in the movie, they could have made the character even more complex and interesting.

Klaus Maria Brandauer's performance is magnificent, he masters the screen as Hanussen must have mastered the stage, it is maybe the best thing that remained from this film, together with the powerful and colorful rendition of the decadent atmosphere of Berlin during the Weimar Rebublic. Yet the real Hanussen may have been even a more fascinating character than Brandauer's Hanussen.


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