Synopsis: A single woman in her early thirties, Martha (Margit Carstensen) is on vacation with her father in Rome when he has a heart attack and falls down dead. She reacts rather indifferently and returns home to her highly-strung mother and begins to new era of her life taking care of a completely ungrateful and insulting mother (declining an offer of marriage from her boss). After a barrage of verbal abuse and offensive remarks from her mother who see's her as an 'ugly old spinster' she accepts a proposal of marriage from an equally insulting and disrespectful man, Helmuth. They honeymoon in Italy. While there Helmuth resigns Martha from the job that she loves, sends her mother to a mental institution, and lets his wife get horribly burnt in the sun while sleeping, then painfully rapes her. Martha gets back to Germany to find that Helmuth has rented them a new house, and she will not be able to return to her old home even to collect any of her things, which he says must be left behind her. At
Genre: Drama, Thriller
Production: Pro-ject Filmproduktion
  1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min

Yes, father. I'm coming.

I'm sorry, father, but...

No, father. I'm in the shower. | I know. I'll be down immediately.

But father...

You can't understand a word | of the newspaper.

At last.

I always have to wait for you, Martha.

My whole life I've been waiting for you | and your mother.

-Nonsense, father. | -It's not nonsense.

Then you're exaggerating.

You always try to draw me | into a discussion...

when you're in the wrong.

-Forgive me, father. | -You say that to keep me quiet.

Will you order the taxi?

Yes, sir.

At once.

I sent the Libyan up to your room. | The one you winked at. Was that okay?

-Who did I wink at? | -The dark guy. Yesterday.

I've been in this business twenty years | and...

I didn't wink at anyone.

-It's not my nature. | -Sorry. I thought...

Don't forget the taxi.

Father, I want to write a card to mother.

If you must.

Mother, I'm fine. The weather's lovely.

Rome is wonderful, | and father's so good to me...

-Your taxi. | -Just the stamp.

-Come on, Martha. | -But...

Was it okay? What am I saying?

I don't understand why they allow it | in a place like this.

Yes, it's surprising. Come on.

Do you feel unwell, father? | Is it too much for you?

These damned steps are endless.


They're very tiring.

Lean on my arm, father.

You always want to touch me, Martha.


Say something!

Please, please.

My God! Say something, father!

Let go of me, Martha.

My purse!

It's been stolen.


Keep quite calm now!

I've some terrible news. | I just don't know...

No, mother, it's... Father died today.

He collapsed suddenly | on the Spanish Steps.

No one could help him.

Then my purse was stolen. | With all the money.

Father didn't suffer at all. | Everything happened so fast.

You mustn't cry, mother.

He had such faith in God...

so it's not so bad for him.

That's why I'm at the German embassy...

Because of the money.

We must wrap the matter up, madam. | We close in ten minutes.

Of course. Just ask your questions. | No mother. It's just...

-Name? | -Martha Heyer.

I have to answer a lot of questions.

They're helping me. | I'm completely lost here.

Father gave all the money to me. | He doesn't like having it on him.

-Age? | -31.

These last days he was so happy | and at peace with the world.

He'd been wanting to see | St. Peter's for years.

-Married? | -No.

And he's always talking | of seeing the Pope.

One shouldn't take it seriously. | He just enthused about it.

-Full address? | -Constance. 21 Douglas Sirk Street.

I was born and went to school | in Constance. I'm a librarian.

I was always drawn to books.

One thing at a time. | I have to write it all down.

Of course. I'm just a bit upset.

You understand the situation?

Oh mother...don't cry!

You know father doesn't like you crying.

He never liked us crying, mother and I.

Now I've hung up on her. | I didn't want to really.

It just happened.

I...couldn't help it.

Help me!

I just ran off and left father lying there.

I had no idea what to do.

Could you give me a cigarette?


Will you help me?

Of course, we'll help you, Miss Heyer.

I promised you that.

Do you know, it's the first cigarette | I've ever smoked.

Father forbade me to smoke.

Would you be so kind | and dial mother's number again?

I'm sorry. We were interrupted.

Do you know... I'm smoking a cigarette?

It's my very first one.

The people are so nice to me here.

They're going to help me bring | father's body back to Germany.

-No, no... | -Mother!

Come on, mother.

Sit down here.

What did you do, Martha, | to upset father so much?

He was always upsetting himself over you.

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Cornell Woolrich

Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich (December 4, 1903 – September 25, 1968) was an American novelist and short story writer who wrote using the name Cornell Woolrich, and sometimes the pseudonyms William Irish and George Hopley. His biographer, Francis Nevins Jr., rated Woolrich the fourth best crime writer of his day, behind Dashiell Hammett, Erle Stanley Gardner and Raymond Chandler. A check of film titles reveals that more film noir screenplays were adapted from works by Woolrich than any other crime novelist, and many of his stories were adapted during the 1940s for Suspense and other dramatic radio programs. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Martha" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 19 Oct. 2020. <>.

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