The lost honor of Katharina Blum (film)

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Original title The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 1975
length 106 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
Director Volker Schlöndorff
Margarethe von Trotta
script Heinrich Böll
Volker Schlöndorff
Margarethe von Trotta
production Willi Benninger
music Hans Werner Henze
camera Jost Vacano
cut Peter Przygodda

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum was filmed in 1975 by Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta . The film is based on the story of the same name by Heinrich Böll .


see The lost honor of Katharina Blum .

Difference to the literary original

The film has a different beginning and a different ending than Böll's novel. If the narrator introduces the reader to the story, which is composed of several sources, the film begins chronologically with the arrival of Ludwig Göttens at the place where he will later meet Katharina Blum at a party. While the book ends with Katharina Blum's imprisonment, the film finally shows the funeral of the shot journalist. A particular irony is that in the funeral speech (written by Heinrich Böll) the head of the publishing house that publishes the ZEITUNG describes Katharina Blum's act as an "attack on freedom of the press" and declares that such attacks must be counteracted more in the future . The effect of the Böll manuscript was to be strengthened in this way. The film ends with a parody of the usual "Similarities with living people are purely coincidental and not intentional.": "Similarities with certain journalistic practices are neither intentional nor accidental, but inevitable." Heinrich Böll also prefers his book with a similar passage.


WDR and Paramount Orion each contributed 500,000 DM to the financing of the 1.7 million DM film . A loan from the Filmförderungsanstalt in the amount of 300,000 DM was later repaid through the gross profit, the producer contributed the remaining amount of around 400,000 DM Own contribution at.

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum celebrated its premiere in nine cinemas in Germany on October 10, 1975 and was first broadcast on ARD on May 28, 1978 . The film had its US premiere in October 1975 at the New York Film Festival and was subsequently shown in selected US cinemas. In 1977 it was shown in 30 Moscow film theaters and then ran in (almost) all major cities of the Soviet Union .

The shooting took place in the Cologne city area and in the studios of the WDR, as well as in Hoch gurgl in the Ötztal in Tyrol . Among other things, the Uni-Center in Sülz served as a venue. It was just under two years old when it was shot and served as an example of a huge, anonymous high-rise apartment block. Later, in the " German Autumn " of 1977, this location became the scene of real terrorist activities: As part of the Schleyer kidnapping in Cologne, RAF member Adelheid Schulz rented a conspiratorial apartment in the Uni-Center under a false name.


According to the lexicon of international films , the “technically experienced film [...] - like Böll's book - relates to current issues in connection with the terrorism debate of the 1970s: entanglement of state institutions with private economic power; Possibilities of manipulating high-circulation tabloid newspapers in the service of political restoration; Powerlessness of the individual against a public opinion fueled to mass hysteria. The renunciation of differentiation, the tract-like simplification of the plot, the exaggeration of the characters and the polemical staging style complement each other to create an effective staging that challenges discussion. "

According to film critic Roger Ebert , the author-filmmakers Schlöndorff and von Trotta demonstrate the same empathy for female characters as they did in Strohfeuer ( A free Woman , 1972). Katharina Blum, played by Angela Winkler with a sophisticated mixture of shyness and fire ( "played with a subtle mixture of shyness and fire" ), is treated differently as a woman in many ways than a man. The sensitive character development of the film is overshadowed, however, and the essentially human story of Schlöndorff and von Trotta is buried by Heinrich Böll's clear message ( "then the big, important Heinrich Boll message comes marching along" ). An intelligent, if ultimately not convincing film ( "an intelligent, if finally unconvincing film" ).


For the movie
  • Predicate particularly valuable from the Film Review Board Wiesbaden
  • CEC Award (Spanish Film Critics)
  • Prize of the OCIC (International Catholic Film Office)
For Angela Winkler
For Jost Vacano


Individual evidence

  1. Der Spiegel 44/1977: Terrorist manhunt: 25 seconds too late
  2. The lost honor of Katharina Blum. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  3. ^ Roger Ebert: The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum , Chicago Sun-Times, October 19, 1976

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