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The Einstein of Sex (1999)

Der Einstein des Sex (original title)
The life story of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a German Jew, who as a physician established the field of sexology, and fought militantly against German anti-sodomy laws in the late 19th century. ... See full summary »


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Cast overview:
Kai Schumann ... Magnus Hirschfeld
Friedel von Wangenheim Friedel von Wangenheim ... Magnus Hirschfeld
Ben Becker ... Adolf Brand
Wolfgang Völz Wolfgang Völz ... Polizeipräsident
Otto Sander ... Prof. Steinach
Meret Becker ... Arbeiterin
Monika Hansen ... Gräfin
Gerd Lukas Storzer Gerd Lukas Storzer ... Baron von Teschenberg
Olaf Drauschke Olaf Drauschke ... Karl Giese
Tima die Göttliche Tima die Göttliche ... Dorchen
Gerry Wolff Gerry Wolff ... Onkel von Hirschfeld
Christa Pasemann Christa Pasemann ... Tante Gesche


The life story of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a German Jew, who as a physician established the field of sexology, and fought militantly against German anti-sodomy laws in the late 19th century. The script reveals main characters in Hirschfeld's life including impossible love interest Baron von Teschenberg, and Hirschfeld's aids- young Karl Giese and guardian angel, the transvestite Dorchen, as they establish the First Institute of Sexual Sciences in Berlin in 1920, and follows their struggles to keep it open, up to the rise of the Third Reich in the mid 1930s. Written by Gonz30

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Discover the Theory of Sexuality...Relatively Speaking.


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Germany | Netherlands


German | English

Release Date:

16 March 2000 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Einstein of Sex See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Featured in Queens Don't Cry (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

15 September 2010 | by sandoverSee all my reviews

The film had early on one of the wittiest lines I have recently encountered: M. Hirschfield, barely into adulthood, and discussing with his uncle and aunt what his academic aspirations are, has his aunt give arguably the best line in the film. "M. do you promise to live?" (That is long enough because his father was a disappointment in that department...) "Yes aunt, I do." "You have to promise, you know, because that is a lot of money that will go to your studies." Well, it was more wittingly put in the film, than I have rephrased it. If that is not Lady Bracknell (from O. Wilde's "The importance of being Earnest") converted into Judaism, I do not know what is! Some of the fun aside, I really think this is an epitome of Jewishness: you have to promise not to die, because, you know, you are giving your promise to the law, that is studying, that is in the Name of the Father. And life, my dear, is completely insignificant in matters of the law.

Too bad the film does not pay attention to its clues. This could have made terrific comedy, but the effect is literal: young Hirschfeld looks anxious, to the wrong direction, missing all the fun, and spoiling ours for the rest of his on screen time. He seems preoccupied in all the wrong ways, along with the script I'm afraid. And when the film shifts gears with his older self, the actor chosen is visibly of a quite different sensibility, so that we miss all the insightful change from his formative to his twilight years. And this, too, courts disaster, for a film concerning an important personality must put that to the test, and be put to the test trying it. None of this happens, and the effect is that of being cheated into cheap editing.

The camera work takes some decisions that run counter to what distance we may want to take from the film, or not, literally or not so. It is one of these instances that the film-maker seems confused in thinking out the film in visual terms, so he picks up the middle way of almost constantly occupying the middle field. This blurs the characters and their initiatives.

Or, to put it in another way, don't you feel cheated, when you put to yourself the question "how much of this was devised, and how much derives from books and archives and true research?" For me at least, when you seriously (and not wonderingly) ask yourself that, the film has failed dramatically.

For the "Einstein of Sex" part, this film has little relativity, even less organizing theory, or Einstein's famous humor. As for the sex, well, the film does not introduce us into such bold matters...

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