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Fräulein
Director: Henry Koster (Dir)
Release Date:   May 1958
Production Date:   early Aug--late Aug 1957 in Germany; 6 Sep--late Oct 1957 in Los Angeles
Duration (in mins):   95 or 97
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Cast:   Dana Wynter (Erika Angermann)  
    Mel Ferrer (Foster MacLain)  
    Dolores Michaels (Lori)  
    Maggie Hayes (Lt. Berdie Dubbin)  
    Theodore Bikel (Col. Dmitri)  
    Luis Van Rooten (Fritz Graubach)  
    Helmut Dantine (Hugo Von Metzler)  
    Herbert Berghof (Karl Angermann)  
    James Edwards (Corp. S. Hanks)  
    Ivan Triesault (Professor Julius Angermann)  
    Blandine Ebinger (Berta Graubach)  
    Jack Kruschen (Corp. Grischa)  
    Alexander Goudovitch (Russian soldier)  
    John March (Russian soldier)  
    George Razdin (Russian soldier)  
    Peter Coe (Russian soldier)  
    David Lichine (Russian soldier)  
    Don Diamond (Russian soldier)  
    Michael Panaieff (Russian soldier)  
    Friedrich Ledebur (German police captain)  
    Otto Reichow (Major)  
    Norbert Schiller (Work foreman)  
    Renata Huy (Trudi)  
    Rita Paul (Rita)  
    Louis Mercier (Le Doux)  
    Gabriel Curtiz (Herr Berger)  
    Joe Ploski (German man at party)  
    Trude Wyler (Waitress)  
    Gerry Gaylor (Girl)  
    Joyce Vanderveen (Girl)  
    Edith Claire (Girl)  
    John Banner (Uhrig)  
    Dorothy Arnold (Woman with Hugo)  
    Ed Erwin (Sergeant)  

Summary: In the waning weeks of World War II, chaos reigns in the nearly defeated Nazi Germany. As people flee for cover from the omnipresent air raids, American prisoner of war Foster MacLain escapes his German captors and seeks refuge in the house of Professor Julius Angermann. The professor, fervently awaiting an end to the war, breaks the law by abetting Foster, the enemy. Soon after, the professor's daughter Erika arrives home and eagerly opens a letter from her soldier fiancé, Hugo Von Metzler. Erika is angry when she learns that her father is harboring a fugitive, but when German soldiers, looking for the American, knock at their door, she hides Foster in her bathroom. After the soldiers have gone, the professor gives Foster a coat to wear over his uniform and he leaves. When gunfire follows his departure, the Angermanns are certain that Foster has been killed. Soon after, a bomb strikes the house and kills the professor. Now alone, Erika ventures to Berlin in search of her cousin Karl. In Berlin's bombed-out streets, the Germans are fleeing the oncoming Russians, but Karl welcomes Erika to his house. He introduces her to his lodgers, the self-centered, opportunistic Berta and Fritz Graubach, who resent Erika's intrusion. Several days later, Russian troops arrive to occupy the city, and fearing for Erika's safety, Karl hides her in the attic. The Russians take over Karl's house, and one night, during a drunken revelry, a corporal finds Berta hiding in the kitchen and begins to molest her. To save herself, Berta tells of the attractive young girl in the attic, sending the corporal rushing up the stairs to break down the door. When Karl tries to defend his cousin, the Russians shoot him in the back. After the corporal tries to rape Erika, she climbs out onto the roof and he follows and falls to his death. Erika is charged with murder until the lustful Col. Dmitri intervenes on her behalf. Dmitri expects sexual favors in return, and even though Erika rejects his advances, he forces her to go out with him. At a nightclub, Dmitri drunkenly proposes to Erika and then passionately kisses her. After excusing herself to fix her lipstick, Erika meets Lori, the club's sympathetic piano player, who shows her a hidden stairway and directs her to a barge that will transport her across the river to American occupied territory. Meanwhile, Foster, who has survived the war and was promoted to major, has been sent to American occupied Berlin, and has kept the coat given to him by the professor who saved his life. Foster's adoring female assistant, Lt. Berdie Dubbin, offers to help him find his benefactor and discovers that the professor has been killed but Erika is still alive. One day, Erika is picking through the rubble of Berlin when the now prosperous Graubachs chance upon her and insist that she come home with them. When they introduce her to their "nieces," Erika fails to realize that the Graubachs are running a brothel until one night, one of the Graubachs' gentlemen callers assails her in her room. Erika runs out onto the street, where Graubach reproaches her for offending his patron. Just then, two American MPs drive by and come to her rescue. When Graubach hurls a racial epithet at Corp. S. Hanks, a black soldier, Erika earnestly apologizes for his behavior. Soon after, Erika meets Lori, who is now playing piano at a local club. Lori takes pity on Erika and gets her a job in a dunk game which requires her to sit on a diving board while GIs throw balls a target that will dump her into a pool below. One night, Foster comes to the club and sees Erika. When he offers to help her, Erika is wary, but asks him to find Hugo. Soon after, a man from the health department comes to Erika's apartment and is greeted by Lori, her roommate. The man tells a shocked Lori that Erika has been registered as a prostitute by the Graubachs and therefore must report monthly for examinations. Right after the man leaves, Foster arrives and asks Erika to go for a drive. In a bombed-out area of the city, Foster points Erika to the sorry hut where Hugo is now living with another woman. Hugo, who has lost an arm in war, has become bitter and indifferent, and when he asks Erika to return her cherished engagement ring so that he can buy an artificial arm, she is devastated. Erika silently hands him the ring and leaves. On the drive home, Foster, sensing her disappointment, asks Erika to join him on a barge trip along the Rhine. As they travel the countryside, Foster forces Erika to confront the losses and sadness in her life and she finally breaks into tears. Foster then confides that he has fallen in love with her and they kiss. Back in Berlin, Erika tells Lori that she plans to apply for a passport so that she can accompany Foster back to America. When Lori informs Erika that she is registered as a prostitute and therefore is unable to leave the country, Erika rushes to the security administration office in disbelief. Lori tries to notify Foster about Erika's distress, but Lt. Dubbin intercepts the call and snidely advises Foster that he offer Erika nylons and not marriage. At the security office, Erika is waited on by Hanks, the black soldier who saved her from Graubach. Remembering her kindness, Hanks obliterates the designation "prostitute" from the record and then hands over her papers. Her name cleared, Erika runs to meet Foster and begin a new life. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Henry Koster (Dir)
  David Hall (Asst dir)
Producer: Walter Reisch (Prod)
Writer: Leo Townsend (Scr)
Photography: Leo Tover (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler (Art dir)
  Leland Fuller (Art dir)
Film Editor: Marjorie Fowler (Film ed)
  Jimmy Clark (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott (Set dec)
  Bertram Granger (Set dec)
Costumes: Charles Le Maire (Exec ward des)
  Mary Wills (Cost des)
Music: Daniele Amfitheatrof (Mus)
  Herbert W. Spencer (Orch)
Sound: E. Clayton Ward (Sd)
  Harry M. Leonard (Sd)
  Bernard Freericks (Sd)
Special Effects: L. B. Abbott (Spec photog eff)
Dance: David Lichine (Choreographer, Russian soldier's dance)
Make Up: Ben Nye (Makeup)
  Helen Turpin (Hair styles)
Production Misc: Stan Goldsmith (Unit mgr)
Color Personnel: Leonard Doss (Col consultant)
Country: Germany and United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs:
Source Text: Based on the novel Fräulein by James McGovern (New York, 1956).
Authors: James McGovern

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 30/4/1958 dd/mm/yyyy LP10795

PCA NO: 18743
Physical Properties: Sd: Westrex Recording System
  col: De Luxe
  Widescreen/ratio: CinemaScope
  Lenses/Prints: lenses by Bausch & Lomb

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: World War II
 
Subjects (Major): Americans in foreign countries
  Betrayal
  Escapes
  False accusations
  Germans
  Postwar life
 
Subjects (Minor): Attempted rape
  Berlin (Germany)
  Bigotry
  Cousins
  Drunkenness
  Engagements
  Fathers and daughters
  Nightclubs
  Opportunists
  Pianists
  Prostitution
  Roommates
  Russia. Army
  World War II

Note: According to a Jun 1956 LAT news item, Ernest Borgnine was originally to star as the male lead and Ursula Thiess was tested for the role of "Erika." A Sep 1956 HR news item adds that Maria Schell was also considered for the role of "Erika." A Mar 1956 LAT news item states that Jay Dratler was writing a screen adaptation of the novel for producer Buddy Adler. By May 1957, a HR news item announced that Norman Corwin had been signed to collaborate on a screenplay with producer Norman Reisch. The contributions of Dratler and Corwin have not been determined, however.
       According to HR production charts and news items, Fräulein was shot on location in Berlin, Cologne and Munich from early Aug--late Aug 1957. It then moved to the Twentieth Century-Fox studios in Los Angeles. According to an Oct 1957 HR news item, David Lichine, the princial dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, choreographed the Russian soldiers' dance and also portrayed one of the soldiers. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
American Cinematographer   Sep 57   p. 562.
Box Office   19 May 1958.   
Daily Variety   7 May 58   p. 3.
Film Daily   8 May 58   p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Sep 56   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   7 May 57   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Aug 57   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Aug 57   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Sep 57   p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter   2 Oct 57   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Oct 57   p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter   2 May 58   p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   24 Mar 1956.   
Los Angeles Times   21 Jun 1956.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   17 May 58   p. 832.
Variety   7 May 58   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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