Vienna, 1930. Marianne is the daughter of the “Zauberkönig”, the owner of a shop selling practical jokes. She dumps her fiancé Oscar, a butcher for Alfred, a street-wise gambler, with whom she has fallen head over heels in love. For his part, Alfred leaves Valerie, an elderly and well-off tobacconist. This “idyllic” relationship doesn’t last very long since Alfred is soon fed up with a respectable life – that is with his baby son and Marianne. He hands over the baby to his mother and grandmother who hate the “brat” born out of wedlock. Then he abandons Marianne. She makes her living as a striptease dancer and eventually lands in prison. But all ends “well” and everybody is moraly satisfied: The butcher generously forgives Marianne. The baby has died in the meantime, thanks to his grandmother who exposed him to the cold night air. Oscar will do his best to make Marianne remember how much she is indebted to him… Movie version of Ödön von Horvath’s bitter, piercing and tragic comedy which satirizes the lower middle-class in pre-war Vienna. —AFC
Maximilian Schell may not be a household name, but he is internationally respected, particularly in Europe, as an award-winning actor/director of stage and screen. He was born in Vienna, Austria, on December 8, 1930, but raised in Switzerland after his parents, Swiss author/poet Hermann Ferdinand Schell and Austrian actress Margarethe Noe von Nordberg, fled there to escape the effects of Nazi Germany’s forcible annexation of Austria in 1938. As a young man, Schell studied at three universities — Zurich, Basel, and Munich — before making his professional stage debut in 1952. In 1955, he appeared in his first film, Kinder, Mütter und ein General. He next debuted on Broadway and then in Hollywood, playing a German officer who befriends fellow soldier Marlon Brando in The Young Lions (1958).
Schell earned an Oscar in 1961 for his intriguing performance as a defense attorney in Judgment at Nuremberg, and would subsequently be nominated for Oscars for his work… read more