A man at his best age

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Original title A man at his best age
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 1964
length 106 minutes
Director Franz Peter Wirth
script Oliver Storz
Franz Peter Wirth
production Maran-Film, Munich
music George Gruntz
camera Karl Schröder

A man in his loveliest age is a German social melodrama from 1963. Directed by Franz Peter Wirth , Karl-Michael Vogler plays the leading role of a man between two women in a life crisis .


Richard Mertens actually achieved everything in life. He works successfully as the editor-in-chief of a magazine, at his side an extremely elegant and attractive wife, Lucy. And yet he wonders whether that should have been all. His life, which is characterized by prosperity, social prestige and establishedness, seems infinitely empty to him. He has long since become estranged from his wife, whose feelings for him seem as cold as his for her. It is customary to treat one another politely but at a distance, form has long ruled over intimacy. Maintaining the facade means a lot to her.

To give his life a new kick, Mertens has got Eva, a pretty, young friend. She works on the editorial staff and seems to promise him everything that he misses so much about his marriage, which is stuck in routine. But even with his beloved Mertens got stuck in his conventions and stuck to the beaten track; he is not really capable of honest feelings. Rather, he tries to underline his status as a successful person with even more success, more work and even more money, and thus to impress and bind his subordinate Eva to himself.

Another source of conflict arises from the split with his old childhood friend Ferrow. A lawsuit against him takes place, which Mertens wins thanks to Eva's perjury. Mertens' behavior shown there proves to be symptomatic of his entire personality. As a result, the love for his girlfriend finally breaks and the relationship has finally failed. In the end, Mertens only finds consolation in the patiently listening barwoman Brigitte.

Production notes

A man at his most beautiful age is based on a novel by Rudolf Schneider. The film, shot in 1963, premiered on January 17, 1964 in the Berlin Marble House .

For leading actor Vogler it was already the second collaboration with French colleague Françoise Prévost within a short period of time . With her and director Franz Peter Wirth , he had shot the comedy Confessions of a Furnished Lord the year before . Prevost's colleague Pascale Audret was also imported from France for the second female lead

The film structures come from Rolf Zehetbauer .

The Swiss Sigfrit Steiner won the film volume in gold in the category “Best Supporting Actor” in 1964 for his portrayal of the criminal inspector .


Der Spiegel , issue no. 7 of February 12, 1964, criticized: “Director Franz Peter Wirth has obviously learned from Italy's master director Antonioni, while his dialogue writer Oliver Storz can only have included contents of Antonioni's scripts. As in Antonioni's "La Notte" is the hero of the Wirth film; a magazine editor-in-chief (Karl Michael Vogler) who became a stranger to his wife; as in Antonioni's "L'Avventura", he also moves away from his lover and ends up with someone for sale. But while such a thing is portrayed in the Italian's precious films as an experience of a disturbed understanding of the world, it only illustrates the banal tendency that money alone does not make you happy. "

In Handbook VII of the Catholic Film Critics it says: "Within the German filmmaking process, a remarkable attempt to capture human behavior, unfortunately without sufficient exposure of the causes and arrested too very conventional ideas."

The Lexicon of International Films wrote: "Although based on the cliché of fashionable social films, a film with a more meaningful topic and greater formal advantages than is common in German cinema in the sixties."

Individual evidence

  1. Criticism in the mirror
  2. ^ Films 1962/64, Düsseldorf 1965, p. 111
  3. Klaus Brüne (Ed.): Lexicon of International Films. Volume 5, p. 2455. Reinbek near Hamburg 1987.

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