Schwarzer Kies

Black Gravel
The film is set in rural Germany in 1960, where the construction of a US airbase triggers a thriving black market and prostitution. Robert Neidhardt, who provides gravel for runway paving to the Americans, also uses his truck for illegal activities. During a tour, he accidently runs over an American soldier and the soldier’s girlfriend ... This thriller has been directed in a demonstratively (neo)realistic style, presenting a critical view of post-war WestGerman society. Helmut Käutner’s intent was to depict the “danger of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic currents” and it opened at a time when audiences had been sensitised by the Adolf Eichmann trial. The chairman of Germany’s Central Council of Jews filed a criminal complaint of defamation. Käutner then edited out scenes containing Jewish references, as well as the “original ending, in which Neidhardt lies next to the dead body of his ex-lover Inge Gaines and buries himself in gravel. In the re-edited version, Inge lives and stays with her husband, while Robert flees to Luxembourg in a panic” (Jeanpaul Goergen, 2011). – World premiere of the digitally restored original version in 2K DCP.
by Helmut Käutner
with Helmut Wildt, Ingmar Zeisberg, Hans Cossy, Wolfgang Büttner, Anita Höfer, Heinrich Trimbur, Edeltraut Elsner, Peter Nestler, Ernst Jacobi
Federal Republic of Germany 1961 German 117’ Black/White Rating R18


  • Helmut Wildt
  • Ingmar Zeisberg
  • Hans Cossy
  • Wolfgang Büttner
  • Anita Höfer
  • Heinrich Trimbur
  • Edeltraut Elsner
  • Peter Nestler
  • Ernst Jacobi


Director Helmut Käutner
Screenplay Helmut Käutner, Walter Ulbrich
Cinematography Heinz Pehlke
Editing Klaus Dudenhöfer
Music Bernhard Eichhorn
Sound Heinz Garbowski
Set Construction Gabriel Pellon
Wardrobe Supervision Walter Schreckling, Elisabeth Daum
Make-Up Friedrich Havenstein, Sabine Brodt
Producer Walter Ulbrich

Produced by

Universum Film AG (Ufa)

Additional information

DCP: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden

Helmut Käutner


Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017