The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Infobox Film
name = The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

caption = Region 1 DVD cover
director = Werner Herzog
producer = Werner Herzog
writer = Werner Herzog
narrator =
starring = Bruno S.
Walter Ladengast
music = Florian Fricke
cinematography = Jörg Schmidt-Reitwein
editing = Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus
distributor =
released = 1974
runtime = 110 min.
country = West Germany
language = German
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0071691

"The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser" (1974) is a West German film written and directed by Werner Herzog about 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 Berbers in the Sahara Desert, and he dies shortly thereafter. An autopsy reveals an enlarged liver and 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 Dinkelsbühl.

ee also

*Feral child

External links

*imdb title|id=0071691|title=The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, Cannes
before="Arabian Nights"
after="Cría Cuervos" tied with
"La Marquise d'O..."

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kaspar Hauser — Infobox Person name = Kaspar Hauser caption = 1839 painting of Hauser birth date = birth date|1812|04|30|mf=y birth place = Unknown death date = death date and age|mf=yes|1833|12|17|1812|04|30 death place = Ansbach, Germany occupation = religion …   Wikipedia

  • Nosferatu the Vampyre — Theatrical release poster Directed by Werner Herzog Produced by …   Wikipedia

  • motion picture, history of the — Introduction       history of the medium from the 19th century to the present. Early years, 1830–1910 Origins       The illusion of motion pictures is based on the optical phenomena known as persistence of vision and the phi phenomenon. The first …   Universalium

  • 1975 Cannes Film Festival — The 1975 Cannes Film Festival ran from May 9 to 23, 1975. It was the 28th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. Jury *Jeanne Moreau, President, actress *André Delvaux, director *Anthony Burgess, writer *Fernando Rey, actor *George Roy Hill,… …   Wikipedia

  • List of film director and cinematographer collaborations — The following is a partial list of film director and cinematographer collaborations. The list consists of films, organized by film director and for each director, organized by the cinematographer(s) with whom he worked repeatedly. It omits films… …   Wikipedia

  • Werner Herzog — Infobox actor name = Werner Herzog imagesize = caption = Werner Herzog in Bruxelles, 2007. birthname = Werner H. Stipetić othernames = birthdate = birth date and age|mf=yes|1942|9|5 location = Munich, Germany occupation = film director,… …   Wikipedia

  • Feral child — A feral child (feral, wild, or undomesticated) is a human child who has lived isolated from human contact from a very young age, and has no (or little) experience of human care, loving or social behavior, and, crucially, of human language.… …   Wikipedia

  • Каждый за себя, а Бог против всех — Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle Жанр …   Википедия

  • Stroszek — Infobox Film name = Stroszek caption = Bruno S. as Der Bruno Stroszek director = Werner Herzog producer = Willi Segler writer = Werner Herzog starring = Bruno S. Eva Mattes Clemens Scheitz music = Chet Atkins Sonny Terry cinematography = Thomas… …   Wikipedia

  • 1974 in film —             List of years in film       (table) … 1964 .  1965 .  1966 .  1967  . 1968  . 1969  . 1970 … 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 …  …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.