Espionage (film)

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Original title espionage
Country of production Austria
original language German
Publishing year 1955
length 102 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Franz Antel
script Alexander Lernet-Holenia
Kurt Nachmann
production Neusser -Film, Vienna
( Erich von Neusser )
Hope-Film, Vienna
music Willy Schmidt-Gentner
camera Hans Heinz Theyer
Hanns Matula
cut Arnfried Heyne

Espionage is an Austrian historical film by Franz Antel from 1955 about the espionage case of the Austro-Hungarian Colonel Alfred Redl .


The discovery of an Austrian spy, Alexander Baron Korff, by the Russian defense officers General Maximoff and Oberleutnant Sabrenin in St. Petersburg and his subsequent execution prompted the Austro-Hungarian General Staff to set up an investigative commission in the records office (the kuk Abwehramt, military intelligence service, today Army Intelligence Office ) to use. Their leader, Colonel i. G. Alfred Redl , is supposed to identify the traitor who must have access to the most secret documents. Redl has a secret homoerotic relationship with Lieutenant Zeno von Baumgarten, whom he has to support financially more and more often. Baumgarten, for his part, recreates the baroness Nadja (called Nadezhda) Antonovna von Korff, whose brother was executed in Russia.

The young captain Hans Angelis, fiancé of Pauline von Heymeneck, the daughter of the chief of staff, and officer in the records office as well as a member of the investigative commission, pursues a certain lead on his own, but becomes of Nadezhda, with whom he fell in love at a reception at the Countess Lichtenfels , suspected of being the wanted spy himself and of murdering her brother. Redl, who found out about this, constructed a network of intrigues against Angelis and then had him arrested, accused of high treason and sentenced on behalf of and with the consent of the Chief of Staff, Austro-Hungarian Field Marshal von Heymeneck, who now also considers Angelis to be a Russian agent. With the help of his bride Pauline, who, despite all suspicions and in the knowledge of his admiration for Nadezhda, stands by him, Angelis wants to set a trap for the real spy out of arrest, with his officers Steidl and Ebinger helping him. When Redl had to procure a considerable sum of money for Lieutenant von Baumgarten in order to maintain his favor, he picked up an encrypted letter of money deposited there at the main post office under surveillance and thereby identified himself as the true spy. In order not to risk a scandal, the General Staff gives Redl the opportunity to judge himself. Angelis is finally fully rehabilitated, honored and promoted to major on behalf of Emperor Franz Joseph I by von Heymeneck.


After his success with Imperial Maneuvers, Franz Antel saw the opportunity to make a film that should do justice to demanding topics. The Redl case had already been filmed in Colonel Redl by Hans Otto Löwenstein in 1925 and in 1931 in The Case of the General Staff Colonel Redl by Franz Anton . As a scriptwriter Antel was able to win the poet Alexander Lernet-Holenia, who wrote the script together with the film professional Kurt Nachmann.

To Antel's surprise, a commission of former Austro-Hungarian General Staff came on the scene, demanding that the Ministry of Education stop the shooting. Antel had to let the general staff review the script and was only allowed to shoot the film after long negotiations. The film was made in the Atelier Wien-Sievering, the exterior shots come from Vienna and the surrounding area. Felix Smetana was responsible for the buildings, while production management was in the hands of Erich von Neusser and Franz Hoffmann. The world premiere took place on April 18, 1955 in Munich, the Austrian premiere on April 29, 1955 in Vienna.

Franz Antel described espionage as one of his best films. In 1985, the film Colonel Redl of István Szabó appeared likened him he said in a statement in the Wiener Zeitung with his own and called the Szabó film a "complete alienation."

The film scenes in which Redl is discovered as a spy in the post office and followed and seized by the officials of the registry office are - even if they are dramatized - somewhat based on the historical truth.

The film names of the head of the evidence office, Rabansky, and the chief of staff, von Heymeneck, are based on the historically real names of the officers concerned ( Colonel August Julius Urbański von Ostrymiecz and Field Marshal Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf ).


In Reclam's Lexikon des Deutschen Films (1995), Martin Prucha described espionage as an "unusually disciplined and carefully staged film adaptation" for director Franz Antel, but criticized the fact that Redl's betrayal was presented "as a purely personal flaw in character", "the consequences of which were glorified by a patriotic Military apparatus ”.

For the film service , espionage was a "commonplace agent film, set in the milieu of the Kuk society, which does not do justice to either historical-political or psychological backgrounds."

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Franz Antel: Twisted, in love, my life , Munich, Vienna 2001, p. 101 ff.
  2. espionage. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed November 20, 2018 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used