What is dad doing in Italy?

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Original title What is dad doing in Italy?
Country of production Germany
original language German
Publishing year 1961
length 97 minutes
Age rating FSK 6
Director Hans Dieter Black
script Ilse Lotz-Dupont
production Franz Seitz
music Henry Mayer
camera Dieter Wedekind

and as singers Gaby King , Ralph Bendix , Rex Gildo , Siw Malmquist

What is dad doing in Italy? is a German travel and hit film fun game from 1961 based on the novel Der sündige Herr Hanselmann by Doris Eicke . Willy Fritsch plays the title role under the direction of the cinema debutant Hans-Dieter Schwarze .


Konrad Hanselmann is the prime example of a middle-class, loyal German, highly satisfied representative of the economic miracle of the early post-war period: a teacher, a loyal father and a good husband who has respect and trust as a teacher at a school in a small university town. With his papa-like, calm demeanor, he is also respected by his students. He has five daughters, of whom only the little latecomer Tönchen has not yet fledged. He has been married for 25 years, always to one and the same woman, Therese Hanselmann. So Konrad leads an average life through and through of an average philistine in the young Federal Republic of Konrad Adenauer.

But even this clean man has a tiny stain on his vest from the past that continues to bother him today. One can hardly believe it, there was also a woman before his wife Therese, and her name was Käthchen Meyer. She was his first love. The two seemed to be in perfect harmony ... until he met his Therese and left his Käthchen in the rain. He hasn't heard from her in all these years. Now of all times - a few days before the silver wedding anniversary - the only sin of the past returns when the postman delivers a letter to the school by registered mail. The sender is a notary in Florence , and Hanselmann is advised to travel to Italy when he asks him to take over an inheritance. The testator is the deceased Katharina Marchesa Bondini, née Meyer.

Konrad Hanselmann doesn't think for a second and begins to pack. Even if his former Käthchen should reproach him violently in her last will, he feels guilty and it is time to pay off the guilt of yore at least now. As an excuse, he gives his family that, as a completely surprising delegate from his school, he has to go to an “educational congress” in Florence. All family efforts to talk him out of this trip, or at least to take his loyal wife with him, fail because of the otherwise very compliant Konrad Hanselmann's unusual resistance. The family accompanies him in full strength to the train station, then he leaves. Those who stayed behind puzzled: “What is Dad doing in Italy?” Hanselmann, who has never been abroad before, shows a certain basic naivety even during the train journey. Out of a basic trust and friendliness towards his neighbor, he is ready, without being aware of any offense, to smuggle cigarettes over the border for Mr. Barnabas' fellow traveler. On arrival in Florence, Hanselmann first got to read a letter from the dear deceased. There it says, among other things: “Out of gratitude that you left me behind and that such a benevolent fate saved me from spending my life as a good student consort in a small, certainly bourgeois-loving, but unfortunately completely boring provincial town have to!"

But what should he do with the inherited money? Hanselmann thinks about it. It is best to invest safely, buy land. To do this, however, he needs time, and so the congress that is not taking place for the family at home has to be extended without further ado. Hanselmann would also like to beat the drum a little. He changes his clothes from head to toe, moves to a more expensive hotel, drinks champagne in the evening and has breakfast in bed in the morning. Vicious, in his eyes, but as a German schoolteacher and loyal father of five daughters you don't treat yourself to anything else! At home nobody suspects anything of his “lotter life”, only the time for the silver wedding celebration is getting scarcer. All six women are beginning to worry, because Dad doesn't even think about returning home as soon as possible. Then it is also a coincidence that neighbors who have returned home want to have seen Hanselmann in Florence and now immediately spread their gossip among the people. Mr Hanselmann is having a good time in Italy, people gossip, and he was also seen accompanied by a seductive lady named Nadja Lamar.

Therese Hanselmann is shocked that she did not expect that from her little Hanselmann! Immediately the ugly word “divorce” hangs in the air. Since nothing is known for certain, the two adult daughters Sabine and Sophie decide to travel to Florence to really clarify what Dad is doing in Italy ... and then to bring him home immediately. Then these two young women also get buried because they don't let anyone hear from them at home either. Sabine fell in love with Klaus Stumpf, who took her to Florence in his car, and Sophie's heart was taken by storm by Papa Hanselmann's train acquaintance Amilare Barnabas. In the end, however, the well-behaved head of the family, Konrad, returned with his two daughters to home and hearth in the idyllic German small town and from now on enjoyed more respect than ever. And besides, there is no longer any guilt in his way. He was in the big wide world and had to find out: It's best at home.

Production notes

What is dad doing in Italy? originated in Germany and Italy and was premiered on September 8, 1961.

The film structures were designed by Max Mellin .

The film's soundtrack includes various, at that time very successful hits, such as the Babysitter Boogie by Ralf Bendix , thank you for the flowers of Siw Malmkvist or Blue melody of Peter Kraus .


In the lexicon of international films it says: "Banal Schlagerlustspiel according to a template."

Individual evidence

  1. What is Papa doing in Italy? In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed December 1, 2015 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 

Web links