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The Great Sacrifice (1944)

Opfergang (original title)
Idle intellectuals Albrecht, Octavia and Äls, are given to quoting and emulating their philosopher hero, Nietzsche. Albrecht later contracts typhus bringing the foster child gravely ill Äls out of an infected area.

Director:

Veit Harlan

Writers:

Rudolf G. Binding (novel) (as R.G. Binding), Alfred Braun | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Carl Raddatz ... Albrecht Froben
Kristina Söderbaum ... Äls Flodéen
Irene von Meyendorff ... Octavia Froben
Franz Schafheitlin Franz Schafheitlin ... Matthias
Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur ... Sanitätsrat Terboven
Otto Treßler Otto Treßler ... Senator Froben
Annemarie Steinsieck Annemarie Steinsieck ... Frau Froben
Edgar Pauly Edgar Pauly ... Servant
Charlotte Schultz Charlotte Schultz ... Nurse
Ludwig Schmitz Ludwig Schmitz ... Büttenredner
Frida Richard Frida Richard ... Frau Steinkamp
Paul Bildt Paul Bildt ... Notar
F.W. Schröder-Schrom ... (as Franz Schroeder-Schrumm)
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Storyline

Albrecht is a son in a family of wealthy intellectuals that has a seaside estate near Hamburg. In early adulthood, when he returns from his around the world trip, he is expected to settle down and marry the beautiful Octavia. One day while rowing alone, Albrecht meets the similarly ravishing Äls, a Finnish woman who migrates to Germany annually for her medical treatment, as she is probably terminally ill. It turns out they live near each other, and subsequently both go horse riding together often. Albrecht becomes very friendly with Äls, and Äls begins to love Albrecht. Albrecht marries Octavia and the married couple move from Hamburg to Düsseldorf. The Düsseldorf lifestyle or society does not agree with Octavia and so they move back to another estate near Hamburg, and very near Octavia. Over time Äls' health slowly deteriorates and Albrecht visits her estate's front gate each day on horseback, where Äls can see Albrecht through the window from her sickbed. An outbreak of Typhoid ... Written by Donald Bruce Telfer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German | Swedish

Release Date:

1954 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Amar é Perdoar See more »

Filming Locations:

Hamburg, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universum Film (UFA) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Agfacolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The controversial Slovenian cultural theorist, philosopher and film buff Slavoj Zizek claims that Opfergang is one of the three best films ever made, the other two being The Fountainhead (USA 1949) and Ivan The Terrible (USSR 1944). See more »

Connections

Remade as Mutters Maske (1988) See more »

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User Reviews

Transcendent film art
23 April 2004 | by LewisJForceSee all my reviews

I have just left a screening of Veit Harlan's film 'Opfergang' ('The Great Sacrifice'). It was shown as part of a film class on German cinema. I've loved film since a very young age, but, shamefully, had never have even have heard of Harlan. Let alone seen any of his pictures. Purely on the basis of this work alone, I would say that his name should be up there with fellow countrymen (and woman) Murnau, Lang and Riefenstahl. One of THE greats of German, nay WORLD cinema. It seems that his remarkable talent has been somewhat eclipsed by his association with Nazi propaganda flicks, and unlike the extraordinary Riefenstahl, his reputation never managed to transcend this.

The film is astonishingly beautiful and moving in a poetically strange way. It's one of those rare films that has an atmosphere that is completely unique and totally mesmeric. An obsessive, intensely personal quality that is magical. I will not attempt to provide a plot synopsis or dally with subtext. I merely urge you to see it however you can. As it seems to be unavailable in almost any media this could prove extremely difficult. It appears that I was incredibly fortunate to see it at all, let alone in a good print on a big screen.

An amazing work of art that, like all real art, has enriched me and changed me in some way.

Before you do anything else, hunt this down and see it NOW.


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