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Based on Heinrich Manns influential novel 'Der Untertan', which casts Germany's penchant for ultra-nationalism and authoritarianism in a satirical light, this scathingly funny, once-banned classic by the director of 'The Murderers Are Among Us' is now ranked by film critics as one of the most significant German films of all time.
It tells the story of Diedrich Hesserling, who as a young boy is afraid of everything. But as Diedrich grows older he learns that by groveling before his superiors and manipulating or stepping on everyone else, he is capable of advancing his position in life. As he progresses from a beer swilling cadet to a ruthless factory owner and finally to a lackey for the Kaiser, Diedrich's ambition for power and prestige comes to fruition.
A historical satire of biting sharpness and grand comedy. Staudte's wonderfully successful adaptation of Heinrich Mann's world-famous novel has become a film classic. --Goethe Institut, Washington
A masterpiece of post-war cinema. Intelligent, sophisticated and aesthetically accomplished. --Oliver Baumgarten, Filmzentrale.com