7.0/10
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14 user 21 critic

Der Unhold (1996)

Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester, he's recruited as a soldier in the 2nd World War, but very ... See full summary »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Malkovich ... Abel Tiffauges
Armin Mueller-Stahl ... Count von Kaltenborn
Gottfried John ... Chief Forester
Marianne Sägebrecht ... Frau Netta
Volker Spengler ... Fieldmarshall Göring
Heino Ferch ... SS-Officer Raufeisen
Dieter Laser ... Professor Blättchen
Agnès Soral ... Rachel
Sasha Hanau Sasha Hanau ... Martine
Luc Florian Luc Florian ... Prisoner of War
Laurent Spielvogel Laurent Spielvogel ... Prisoner of War
Marc Duret ... Prisoner of War
Philippe Sturbelle Philippe Sturbelle ... Prisoner of War
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Lawyer
Jacques Ciron Jacques Ciron ... State Attorney
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Storyline

Frenchman Abel Tiffauges likes children, and wants to protect them against the grown-ups. Falsely suspected as child molester, he's recruited as a soldier in the 2nd World War, but very soon he is taken prisoner of war. After shortly serving in Goerings hunting lodge, he becomes the dogsbody in Kaltenborn Castle, an elite training camp for German boys. Completely happy to take care of these children, he becomes a servant of Nazism, catching boys from the area as supplies for the camp. Written by Frank Wallner <wallnerf@informatik.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany | France | UK

Language:

English | German | French

Release Date:

12 September 1996 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Le roi des aulnes See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,500, 13 December 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$49,166, 5 September 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

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

Goofs

Prior to the school fire, a caption says "Paris 1925". Upon his arrest as an adult, Abel, through his narration, remembers the fire as having happened "twenty years ago". This would place his adult scenes in 1945, but when he joins the French army after his arrest it is before the German occupation of Paris which would place his arrest in 1940. However, Abel is slow-witted and possibly does not have an accurate sense of time. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Blaettchen: Brightness is not a characteristic of the German race. We don't want brightness! People say, "Oh, so-and-so is so bright, he has such a clear mind!" No. We mistrust this brightness, this clarity. Let the new African races cultivate brightness. Our sources are in darkness. That is what drives us to unparalleled creativity.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood Profile: John Malkovich (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
the story of Michael Jackson?
27 June 2006 | by btodorovSee all my reviews

Tournier is among the great French writers of the latter 20th century, maybe the only one living competitive enough for the Nobel prize. The movie is, however, rather unsatisfactory, even if Malcovich does a good job. The reason for the lameness of the production is that the director never dared to explore more fully the darker side of Tiffauges, to make it clear why people were afraid of him, why he could not build friendships and so on. Apparently the producers were afraid that if they made the main character more graphic, this would really turn him into a pedophile and alienate the viewer. Here is the big hitch in putting great books on screen. In cinema characters most often end up gaining the sympathy of viewers. So in view of making the character likable and keeping hope alive that one day he would be able to survive his obsessive manias, the screenwriter and the director deliberately twisted the end. In the movie, Abel turned into a real Christopher carrying the child-Jesus (a Jewish refugee from a concentration camp) as a sign of his Christian redemption, but... in the book Tiffauges does not survive the crossing of the Mazurian swamps: on the contrary, he deliberately drowns, together with the young boy, in a tragic culmination of his unending obsession with young children. This is why the original title of the book is "Le roi des aulnes", the elven-king from Goethe's dark poem. Even if I greatly admired the book, I long suspected Tournier to have been carried too far away in his creative search, up to the point of inventing a kind of mania which does not belong to the list of pathological states. Such non-sexual pedophiles, obsessed with children, but harmless and protective, do they exist? Are there really people who want to protect children from growing up?


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