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.
Federal Republic of Germany 1961
117’ · Black/White · 2K DCP
Digital version 2016
Helmut WildtIngmar ZeisbergHans CossyWolfgang BüttnerAnita HöferHeinrich TrimburEdeltraut ElsnerPeter NestlerErnst Jacobi
Universum Film AG (Ufa)
DCP: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden