Town Without Pity (1961) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: In 1960 Germany, Army lawyer Major Steve Garrett is assigned to defend four American soldiers charged with raping 16 year-old Karin Steinhof. She was swimming in a nearby river when the four of them came across her and they were soon arrested thereafter. Maj. Garrett is anything but impressed with… Runtime: 105 min Release Date: 24 Mar 1961
This is a very serious movie. A local teenage girl is raped by four US soldiers on a hot summer day in a little German town. Her father wants the criminals to be killed. The soldiers' lawyer Kirk Douglas knows he must devastate the girl's seemingly innocent image to free his clients from the death sentence. It looks like this movie never really was produced to be a huge success at the box offices at all. It treats its story with honesty and no compromises. The acting is excellent. Douglas and Marshall give very impressive performances supported by a flawless German/ American cast. <more>
Christine Kaufmann is absolutely convincing as the victim which is raped a second, this time by the legal system. Reinhardt almost tends to a documentary style, something that probably doesn't appeal to all viewers. It's exciting, well written and very depressive. A perfect movie which leaves you speechless in the end.
Probably best known today for it's unforgettable title song by Gene Pitney, which was a huge international hit and sold 3.5 million records that year, this was a courageous film to make in 1961. With dramas about rape something you can see almost every night on TV you may forget that this was almost taboo in those days. A powerful well acted drama from start to finish, my only complaint would be the totally unnecessary narration. Perhaps this isn't on the German version but the film I saw it is a horrible distraction. A female voice tells you everything your seeing as it happens, <more>
gives unnecessary explanations, and tells you what the Germans are saying in their native language. Simple subtitles would have been much better. But putting that aside you have a powerful film with an excellent cast. Christina Kaufman should have become a major star. As is, this is her best role. Don't miss it!
In View of the Singular Brutality of this Movie (by Prof_Lostiswitz)
I have no alternative but to ask that you watch it as soon as possible.This is undoubtedly Kirk Douglas' finest performance, probably because he's playing a character somewhat like himself. But rookie actress Christine Kaufmann completely steals the show in what must have been a very difficult performance. She deserved an Oscar, not just a second-rate Golden Globe.Director Gottfried Reinhard is the son of impresario Max Reinhard, the guy who put Frank Wedekind on the stage. Although you may not have heard of him, Wedekind wrote such famous plays as Lulu and Springtime Awakening <more>
which resembles Town Without Pity in some ways . That line "the law is like a great wide river" is a paraphrase of a famous line from Springtime Awakening in fact, the movie has a ton of great quotable lines e.g. "such a small town, and so much hate and meanness".Besides the portrait of a small town where everyone hates everyone hates everyone else, added tension is given by this being a proud and ancient place humiliated by foreign conquest and occupation West Germany, 1960 . The many tensions reach boiling point and explode. This Swiss-American co-production goes places Hollywood would never dare, it more resembles German movies like The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum.The theme song was a smash hit in 1961, and even got an Oscar nomination; the music was written by the legendary Dimitri Tiomkin, a classically trained composer."No, it isn't very pretty what a town without pity can do-oo".
Gripping, powerful, shocking for its time. (by maxfabien)
When this film was released in 1961, I remember the ads saying this film was for "Adults Only". The MPAA rating system didn't exist then. A film about four soldiers stationed in Germany who gang rape a 16 year old girl and the trial that followed was pretty heavy stuff for audiences back then. I recently saw the film on Turner Classic Movies, and it still holds up very well. It is still startling and powerful, even without nudity and foul language, which should show Hollywood it can be done. You can be "adult" without being unnecessarily vulgar or obscene. As it <more>
stands, I would still give this film an "R" rating today.And, of course, there is the memorable title song, sung by Gene Pitney, which accounted for the film's only surprisingly Oscar nomination. Even that lost out to the syrupy "Moon River" from "Breakfast at Tiffany's".My one complaint about Turner's presentation was with the film's aspect ratio. Instead of showing a widescreen version, they showed a full-frame version with the framing "squeezed" so that faces were somewhat elongated and cars appeared "stubby" and compacted. This became very annoying. Even a pan & scan version would be better than this.Nonetheless, for sheer power, as well as excellent acting by Kirk Douglas, E.G. Marshall, Christine Kaufmann, and a very young Robert Blake, I highly recommend "Town Without Pity".
Probably the finest film about a rape trial ever made. (by Michael-110)
This outstanding film shows how a rape victim is brutally revictimized by the ordeal of a rape trial. It is far superior to better known films about rape such as "The Accused." In this film, four American GI's stationed in Germany brutally gang rape a young girl named Karen. The incident is eerily reminiscent of the gang rape by American service men that occurred in Okinawa a year or two ago. Major Steve Garrett is assigned to defend the soldiers and he does an outstanding job of defending some disgusting clients. He gets lots of help from people in town who don't like <more>
Karen. He tries desperately to plea bargain the case because he knows that his cross-examination of Karen will be brutal, but Karen's stuffy father won't hear of it. He believes his daughter is a model of chastity and is out for vengeance.Garrett destroys Karen on cross examination and manages to avoid the death penalty for his clients. The story ends tragically as the town casts Karen out as a harlot. Thus the victim in a tragic rape case is victimized once again by the legal system.
Douglas in an amazing performance (by jeffreylincoln)
Not many actors could pull off this complicated role of a defense lawyer with a conscience, but nonetheless a sense of duty. Although the title implies that the plot centers around a community that is cruel, it is the family relationships which inflict the most damage.This film must have been shocking for its time 1961 . It still shows well today, and will have most viewers in its grip until the end.There is a good deal to digest here--Dysfunction in the families, credibility of witnesses, coming of age issues... But mostly what I thought about is how much of an advantage it is to have a <more>
good lawyer! Enjoy this movie for the interesting plot and the talent of Kirk Douglas, but don't expect to come away feeling happy.
The Ugly Hate the Beautiful and the Poor Hate the Rich (by bkoganbing)
Town Without Pity, an American-German co-production, involves the crime, trial, and aftermath of four American GIs in occupied Germany raping a teenage girl.Christine Kaufman who shortly after this film became the second Mrs. Tony Curtis, is attacked and raped by four American soldiers. The four, Frank Sutton, Richard Jaeckel, Robert Blake, and Mal Sondock, are in danger of capital punishment as prescribed by the American Code of Military Justice.As another reviewer pointed out this was taking place while Germany was still an occupied country. Allied occupation of Germany didn't <more>
officially end until 1955 when our High Commissioner to Germany, James B. Conant, became our first ambassador to the German Federal Republic. After that these four would have taken their chances in a German criminal court.The fact though that they were soldiers also meant that there was no chance for acquittal. What had to be determined was how guilty they were, even to the extent of the ultimate punishment.Kirk Douglas for the defense and E.G. Marshall for the prosecution make a good pair of adversaries. Marshall would very shortly see how the other half lived as after this film was done, he would star in the long running TV series, The Defenders.Kirk Douglas is a tiger in the courtroom as he ruthlessly puts Kaufman's own character on trial. It's his job, it's done down to the present day with victims of rape. But he's also a person with conscience, he knows exactly the character of the four men he's charged with the defense of, the character of each of them individually.Anyway there isn't a player alive who doesn't relish a good courtroom scene and Douglas made the most of his opportunity here. I don't believe Kirk got back in a courtroom until a made for TV remake of Inherit the Wind.Of the German cast and I note that several including Kaufman have had substantial careers in the German cinema, Barbara Rueting as the German reporter who narrates the film and Gerhard Lippert as Kaufman's boyfriend also stand out.Of course no discussion of Town Without Pity is complete without the title song which I remember so well blaring from the jukeboxes of 1961. This jazz/rock and roll song was very typical of what was happening in German and other foreign culture, an overwhelming Americanization of same. Gene Pitney sold a lot of records of Town Without Pity back in the day. If you've never seen the film you'll remember the song after seeing it once.And you'll also remember in terms of attitudes they really are the same. Those little minds will indeed tear you in two.It's what a Town Without Pity does.
Douglas and Kaufmann are simply fantastic in this movie (by Kukident5000)
Surprisingly this convincing drama is almost ignored by German TV stations nowadays though it features a very touching and impressive performance by Christine Kaufmann who won a Golden Globe for this one as the first German actress ever . Kirk Douglas is very strong in the male lead having to deal with the awful job to defend four US soldiers who've gang raped a 16-years-old German beauty. Though Reinhardt's style has dated badly the movie's still worth watching. He definitely has done a good job capturing the heartless atmosphere needed for a story like this. There are some <more>
haunting moments.....and the sad realization that also more than 40 years after "Town Without Pity" most rape victims still are devastated twice.By the way, I've seen the German version which is half-dubbed, half-original so that you have several characters speaking with two different voices. I'd prefer a complete English or German version respectively the use of subtitles.
Don't try to prove your a man to me! Prove it to your girl! (by sol-kay)
***SPOILERS**** Shocking and brutally honest film about the crime of rape and how it stigmatizes its victims to the point of them being treated worse then those who raped them.Frollecking by the river outside the little German town of Neustadt pretty 16 year old Kerin Steinhof, Christine Kaufmann,leaves her boyfriend 19 year old Frank Borgmann, Gerheart Lippert, because he,in feeling it's not right, declines to have sex with her. All by herself in the woods Karin disrobes her skimpy bikini and is suddenly grabbed from behind by drunken GI Sgt. Chuck Snyder, Frank Sutton, who together with <more>
three other fellow and drunk GI's, played by Robert Blake Richard Jeackle & Mal Sondock, brutally gang rape the helpless young woman.Frank sensing something is wrong comes to Karin's aid only to be cold cocked and knocked unconscious by the guerrilla-like Sgt. Snyder. It's later in the movie that the distraught young man is humiliatingly slapped around by Karin's outraged father the town banker Karl Steinhof, Hans Nielsen, for allowing his daughter to be raped! As if the slim and very non-violent Frank had a chance to fight off Karin's four burly rapists which in fact he tried to do.You would expect that Karin would get all the sympathy from the townspeople in Neustadt for the unspeakable ordeal she went through! But instead she's held up to ridicule for, what almost everyone in town feels, allowing or even inviting her attackers to gang rape her!With the town's elders including Karin's father Herr Steinhof demanding the death penalty it's now up to the accused GI's US Army defender Maj. Steve Garrett, Kirk Douglas, to put Karin on the stand. It's there under Maj. Garrett's brutal and embarrassing cross-examination that Karin undergoes a far more, and in public, humiliation then she even suffered at the hands of her rapists.The film "Town Without Pity" is without a doubt the best movie ever to come out from a Hollywood studio about the ugly subject of rape and its even uglier consequences in how it not only effects its victim but those who know her. Karin is driven to almost insanity afraid to even leave her home in fear of being sat upon by her neighbors in calling her a whore or even worse.Just about disowned by her parents Karin and Frank, who stuck by her during the whole movie, decides to leave Neustadt and begin a new life but even that isn't in cards for the two young lovers. The very tragic ending is far too honest then you would expect in a Hollywood movie back then, in 1961, when feel good endings were a must in order not to disturb audiences who want escapism not realism in films. And it's that very tragic ending that make the film "Town Without Pity" the landmark movie that it is today.Powerhouse performance by Kirk Douglas as the reluctant Army defender Maj. Steve Barrett who sees what's coming, in Karin's father demanding the death penalty for her rapists, but is totally helpless to prevent it. Pleading with Herr Steinhof to not let his daughter Karin to be forced to take the stand Maj. Barrett is then forced to bring out Karin's tendencies in exposing herself in public. This leads to Karin breaking down on the witness stand and having her attackers given long prison sentences not the death penalty that her father so much wanted.I for one could not believe that Karin's father was so naive about her flaunting her body to perfect strangers that he would let her go through the unbearable cross-examination that she was subjected to by Maj. Barrett. It was also sad on Herr Steinhof's, as well as Frank's widowed mother, part to also persecute Karin's boyfriend Frank who by far was more considerate and sympathetic toward his daughter and the horrible ordeal she was going through then anyone else, even Maj. Barrett, in the film. And it was his-Herr Steinhof's-actions that eventually lead to Karin's death at the end of the movie.***SPOILER ALERT*** "Town Without Pity" pulls no punches by packing a wallop in its story about rape and how it destroys not only physically but emotionally its victims. The film also shows the cold indifference towards the rape victim by, what later turns out in the movie, even her parents who treat her as an outcast because she, instead of dying, survives her terrible ordeal. Karin all alone, with only Frank standing by her side, had no other choice but to end it all which also ended her suffering. Karin in doing what she did also showed those, besides her rapists, who had so cold heartedly treated her and dove Karin to her death what unfeeling monsters they really are.P.S The film's haunting and right on target theme song "Town Without Pity" is preformed by the late Gene Pitney.