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Mother Holly (1963)

Frau Holle (original title)
The widow has an ugly and lazy daughter, Pechmarie, and a beautiful and hard-working step-daughter, Goldmarie. Because Pechmarie is her real daughter, the widow clearly favors her and makes... See full summary »


Gottfried Kolditz


Jacob Grimm (fairy tale), Wilhelm Grimm (fairy tale) | 2 more credits »


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Credited cast:
Mathilde Danegger Mathilde Danegger ... Frau Holle
Karin Ugowski ... Goldmarie
Katharina Lind Katharina Lind ... Pechmarie
Elfriede Florin Elfriede Florin ... Witwe
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Herbert Graedtke Herbert Graedtke ... Mathias
Jürgen Pörschmann Jürgen Pörschmann ... Klaus (as Jürgen Pörschemann)


The widow has an ugly and lazy daughter, Pechmarie, and a beautiful and hard-working step-daughter, Goldmarie. Because Pechmarie is her real daughter, the widow clearly favors her and makes Goldmarie do all the work. Poor Goldmarie must also sit and spin all day by the well until her fingers bleed. When she tries to rinse out the spindel, it drops into the cold water. Her unsympathetic step-mother tells her to jump in after it. Goldmarie does as she is told, and then wakes up in the middle of a beautiful field of flowers. This is the land of Frau Holle, who welcomes Goldmarie and invites her to stay, as long as she will help with the housework. Marie stays and serves Frau Holle gladly, until she suffers so terribly from homesickness that she asks to go home. Before bringing her back, Frau Holle rewards Marie with a shower of gold. Upon her return, Goldmarie and her gold are welcomed by her greedy step-sister and -mother. Hoping for the same kind of reward, the step-mother sends ... Written by DEFA Film Library

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Family | Fantasy




East Germany



Release Date:

13 October 1963 (East Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Holle Anyó See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Deutsche Film (DEFA) See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Version of Frau Holle (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Good behaviour for reward
24 April 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The twenty fourth story from the first volume of Brothers Grimm's 'Kinder- und Hausmärchen', 'Frau Holle' may not be one of my favourite stories or fairy-tales, being one that was introduced to me when quite a bit older rather than being one of those growing-up-with stories. It is however a very interesting story from a thematic standpoint and teaches good and important lessons that are valuable and relevant today still. Do like it very much, especially for the titular character who is very memorable and iconic.

DEFA's 1963 version of 'Frau Holle' is one of a number of a fairy/folk tale adaptations made in East Germany, some better and more popular than others but they are worth the look and better done than most fairy/folk tale adaptations, regardless of their age. 'Frau Holle' is not one of the best of them, do prefer 'Heart of Stone', 'Three Wishes for Cinderella' and 'The Singing Ringing Tree' for examples, but it is still nicely done and follows the original closely and with respect.

It takes time to get going and there are times where it did feel on the stagy side, sometimes feeling more of a filmed stage version.

Although suitably spiteful, Katharina Lind overdoes it a little as Pechmarie.

However, it is a nice-looking, if very simple, adaptation of 'Frau Holle'. The production design is suitably rustic and colourful and didn't look simplistic, while it is beautifully shot in colour that never looked too drab or garishly gaudy. Budget limitations show at times but not in a way that looks amateurish. The music didn't feel at odds with what was going on and fitted while not always enhancing.

Writing doesn't become too cheesy or camp, while being fun enough to stop the treatment of the story from being taken too seriously. When it got going, the story had immense charm and was engaging, it was easy to follow without being too simple and nothing childish or too scary. It is a respectful as an adaptation as is the spirit, even if at times dramatically it could have had a little more kick in spots. Generally it didn't feel too long, with 'Frau Holle' not being as slight as other fairy-tales so there is more story in it, and scenes didn't feel padded out.

'Frau Holle's' characters are immensely engaging. Identified every step of the way with Goldmarie and Frau Holle herself is both benevolent and mysterious. Much of the acting serves the adaptation well, especially Karin Ugwoski as Goldmarie with Mathilde Danegger also the embodiment of Frau Holle. Elfriede Florin is an appropriately nasty step-mother and doesn't overplay too much.

Summing up, a worthwhile watch and a good way to introduce one to the story if one doesn't know it already. 7/10

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