Synopsis: Germany in the early 1930s. Against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise, Hermann Hermann, a Russian émigré and chocolate magnate, goes slowly mad. It begins with his seating himself in a chair to observe himself making love to his wife, Lydia, a zaftig empty-headed siren who is also sleeping with her cousin. Hermann is soon given to intemperate outbursts at his workers, other businessmen, and strangers. Then, he meets Felix, an itinerant laborer, whom he delusionally believes looks exactly like himself. Armed with a new life insurance policy, he hatches an elaborate plot in the belief it will free him of all his worries.
Genre: Drama
  3 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
119 min



...which we have lost forever.


Oh, Lydia...

The peasants celebrating

in a flat sledge opens up the road...

Our horses snort and,

snuffling through the snow,

swish through forests of birch and fir

with a trinkle of harness

and a crack of whip!

The wolves are invisible

behind their howls.

Oh, what a relief it was

to hear the Kremlin bells...

and to know that soon we

would be safe and warm...

around the samovar.

How these burning winters

bring it all back.

You are a tease!

And you!

You are a teaser...

What's that accident all about?

- What accident?

- In America!

Why should it matter to you?

It doesn't say anything

about an accident... says just to go crash. Collapse!

The whole street collapsed?

...Wall Street...

Were people killed?

Just a few.

Mostly jumping out of windows.

Nearly all of them were stock holders.

Oh Hermann...

Really, you are such a... such a

stupid woman, Lydia.

You've lived here for 7 years already

and you still can't speak the language

properly. Still, I don't mind.

Intelligence would take

the bloom off your carnality.

No, a woman like you should

keep moist and plump...



Who the hell wears red socks!?

Oh! They're Ardalion's...

He's always taking his socks off.

You know what it's like.

Your cousin stinks.

He should be in a zoo.

Blood is thicker than water, Hermann.


Handsome, isn't it?

Oh, Hermann!

You're so...


How dare you come

into this room partly clothed.

Off with it!

Have you no sense of indecency?

Don't close the door!

- Why not?

- I want it open.

- But Elsie might...

- Elsie's gone to bed. Leave it open!

I'd like to know what's

going on in your head...

Which one?

I don't understand?

Lydia? Lydia... please!

Come along my feather-brained

cockatoo or you'll make me late!

- Quick!

- Yes!

Always late, late...

- Oh, Elsie!

- Yes Madam?

I'm just riding my husband to the office.

Make up the bed!!

I live in a house of parrots.

Will you please hurry!

Coming darling!

Oh, Elsie...

And don't forget what I told

you about the Christmas tree.

- Good morning, sir.

- Morning.

- Good morning.

- Good morning, Frau Schmitt.


Ah, yes...

Too bitter...

or not bitter enough.

That is the problem!

At whom are we aiming?

Some girls only like it bitter.

Fastidious little prigs.

Then there are others,

the rich ones, smooth...

who like it milky and chocolaty.

Like my mother.

You know, my mother was like that.

She was a fat bourgeois

with too many rings

popping chocolates

into her fat, jowly face!

On wet afternoons she would go through

an entire box of peppermint creams

and the family photograph album.

Thank you.

I don't know why I tell you all this.

Please excuse me.

No, the problem is not

here in the chocolate,

the problem is in New York.

Germany has borrowed 7 billion dollars.

Mostly from American investors.

And now... the chocolate spree... is over.

There would be plenty of money around...

if it wasn't for this government

giving it all away to greedy foreigners.

But reparations must be paid, Mller.

Who says?

Well... the treaty of Versailles!

I didn't start the war,

Why should I pay for it?

Anyway, the war has been over 12 years.

My God! As long ago as that?

Now the politicians are betraying us.

If it wasn't for the reparations, Ge--

Germany could rebuild,

and become strong again and...

...regain her place...

as the greatest country in Europe!

Mller, Mller! You begin to sound

like that man in the newspapers.

- Alfred...

- Alfred Hugenberg sir!

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Tom Stoppard

Sir Tom Stoppard OM CBE FRSL (born Tomáš Straussler; 3 July 1937) is a British playwright and screenwriter, knighted in 1997. He has written prolifically for TV, radio, film and stage, finding prominence with plays such as Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Professional Foul, The Real Thing, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He co-wrote the screenplays for Brazil, The Russia House, and Shakespeare in Love, and has received one Academy Award and four Tony Awards. Themes of human rights, censorship and political freedom pervade his work along with exploration of linguistics and philosophy. Stoppard has been a key playwright of the National Theatre and is one of the most internationally performed dramatists of his generation. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Despair" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 21 Mar. 2023. <>.

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