Posted by: greercn | November 5, 2015

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)

With a German title that translates as “every man for himself and God against them all”, this is an important film that sets out the themes of most of Werner Herzog’s work.

I went to see it at the Leytonstone Film Club monthly screening. They are back after a break for the refurbishment of their usual home at the Leytonstone Library. Fortunately, that lovely room they use has kept its character.

“Kaspar Hauser” is based on a true story of a semi-savage man who was found in Nuremberg, Germany in 1828. Kaspar has been held in chains, for mysterious reasons.

Herzog uses this tale to describe German society. Even after 40 years, Herzog’s questions about outsiders, normality, societal expectations and the nature of human life feel as fresh and relevant as ever.

It’s fun and whizzes through its 110-minute running time. At the end, I wanted a few minutes more.

Despite its intellectual and philosophical stances, it’s just a terrific story.

If you know a little German, you get more out of it although the subtitles are good. The name “Kathe” is not the same as “Kathy”, but most of my quibbles with the subtitles are very minor.

It’s glorious to see an intelligent European movie in the company of others who love film. If you missed this, you missed a treat and really ought to seek it out.

Here’s the link if you want to know more:

Keep an eye on their website or sign up to get alerts of their next screenings. The movies they show are all worth seeing.



  1. Thank you for posting this. I have been a fan of Herzog’s work for a long time.

    • Me too! Recently, I adored “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”.

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