The Lover in the Attic: A True Story (TV Movie 2018) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Stymied in her marriage to her wealthy but boorish husband Fred Oesterreich, sultry and seductive Dolly Oesterreich keeps her young "love slave," Otto Sanhuber, hidden away in her attic for years. But when Otto shoots Fred dead, Dolly tries to pass it off as a robbery gone awry, a claim that doesn't sit well with Chief Detective Herman Cline, who tenaciously pursues the case. Dolly moves to Los Angeles, where she uses her ill-gotten insurance money to live the high life among the Hollywood fast set At one of her parties, Dolly meets Herman Shapiro, a prominent Los Angeles defense attorney, who is quickly smitten with the seductive newcomer. After a torrid affair, Herman proposes to Dolly, who ecstatically accepts. All along, Dolly keeps Otto a slave and a closely-kept secret in her life. But Dolly's seductive wiles may ultimately backfire on her, as the jealous Otto realizes that he would rather face the full penalty of the law than one more day of her manipulation and betrayal. Set in the 1920s.

  • It's the mid-1920s Milwaukee. Dolly Oesterreich née Korschel and Fred Oesterreich, the latter known as the textile king of the Midwest, married for reasons other than love. In lust, Fred wanted a trophy wife, one who would make him feel good and boost his ego, which means she needing to dote on him at all times, especially in public. And Dolly wanted a meal ticket to get her away from her humble background. She ends up taking a lover in the form of young and impressionable Otto Sanhuber, the repairman who was sent to fix her sewing machine. In captivating Otto completely, she is also able to convince him, he who is all alone in the world, to live clandestinely in her and Fred's attic, in order for them to be together during the day while Fred is at work, but which also means that Otto is confined to the house in order not to arouse the suspicion of especially neighbors who may see him coming and going. This situation leads to Otto being able to hear the goings-on of Dolly and Fred while he is stuck in the attic at night, and to indulge in writing, he a fan of pulp crime fiction. While Otto is not naive enough to believe that Dolly truly loves him, he still dreams of the two of them ultimately living as man and wife. With the onset of the Great Depression, the situation changes enough for Dolly and Otto believing that they can have their cake and eat it too, with their individual agendas being different - despite it on the surface being the same - and ultimately being in conflict with each other.



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