- The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
name = The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
caption = Region 1 DVD cover
runtime = 110 min.
country = West Germany
language = German
imdb_id = 0071691
"The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" (
1974) is a West German filmwritten and directed by Werner Herzogabout the legend of Kaspar Hauser. Its original German title is "Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle", which means "Every man for himself and God against them all".
The film tells the story of Kaspar Hauser (played by
Bruno S.), who lived for the first 17 years of his life chained in a tiny cellar with only a toy horse to occupy his time, devoid of all human contact except for a stranger who feeds him. One day in 1828, the same stranger takes Kaspar out of his cell, teaches him a few phrases and how to walk, and then leaves him in the town of Nuremberg. Kaspar is the subject of the curiosity and is even exhibited in a circus before being rescued by Herr Daumer ( Walter Ladengast) who patiently attempts to transform him. Kaspar soon learns to read and write and develops unorthodox approaches to religion and logic, but music is what pleases him most. He attracts the attention of clerics, academics, and nobility, but he is attacked by persons unknown who leave him unconscious with a bleeding head. He recovers but is again mysteriously attacked, stabbed in the chest possibly by the same man who brought him to Nuremberg. Kaspar rests in bed describing visions he had of nomadic Berbersin the Sahara Desert, and he dies shortly thereafter. An autopsyreveals an enlarged liverand cerebellum.
The film follows the real story of Kaspar Hauser quite closely, using the text of actual letters found with Hauser, and following many details in the opening sequence of Hauser's confinement and release. One departure is his age: the historical Hauser was 17 when he was discovered in Nuremberg. The film does not specify Kaspar's age, but Bruno was 41 years old at the time of filming.
Herzog discovered the lead actor, Bruno S., in a documentary about street musicians. Fascinated by Bruno, Herzog cast him as the lead in two of his films, "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" and "
Stroszek" despite the fact that he had no training as an actor.
Bruno's own life bears some similarities to Kaspar Hauser's, and his own unbalanced personality was often expressed on set. In Herzog's commentary for the English language DVD release, he recalls that Bruno remained in costume for the entire duration of the production, even after shooting was done for the day. Herzog once visited him in his apartment, to find him sleeping on the floor by the door, in his costume.
The outdoor scenes were filmed in the town of
*imdb title|id=0071691|title=The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
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