The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Synopsis: Herzog's film is based upon the true and mysterious story of Kaspar Hauser, a young man who suddenly appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, barely able to talk or walk, and bearing a strange note; he later explained that he had been held captive in a dungeon of some sort for his entire life that he could remember, and only recently was he released, for reasons unknown. His benefactor attempts to integrate him into society, with intriguing results.
Director(s): Werner Herzog
Production: New Yorker Films
  5 wins & 3 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
110 min

One Sunday in 1828 a ragged boy was

found abandoned in the town of N.

He could hardly walk

and spoke but one sentence.

Later, he told of being

locked in a dark cellar from birth.

He had never seen another human

being, a tree, a house before.

To this day no one knows where

he came from - or who set him free.

Don't you hear that horrible

screaming all round you?

That screaming men call silence?



Wri - ting!

Remember that:

If you write nice now,

papa'll give you nice horsey.



- Horse.

- Horse.


Repeat after me:

I want to be a gallant rider... my father was before me.

Say it! I want to be

a gallant rider... my father was before me!

Gallant rider.

Gallant rider like my father...

- Father...

- Father...

-...was before me.

-...was before me.

Remember that!

Remember that!

Come on now.

Stand here.

Hold this letter.

The letter...

Stay right here...

Wait here.

Wait for me here!

What do you want here?


I'm asking you

what you want here?

Like my father was before me!

Ah, maybe it's that you

don't know your way around here?

Can I be of service?

Is it that letter there...'re wanting to bring?

Let's have a look at it.

"To the Cavalry Captain of

the Fourth Squadron...

...Sixth Schwolische Regiment."

Let's see now,

that'll be straight ahead...

...past Augustinergasse, round the

corner, that's the Captain's house.

Should I take you there?

Or have you got other plans?

Say, where are from now?

Ansbach, Erlangen, Regensburg?



good - come along now!

The young man here's

from Regensburg...'s a letter for the Captain.

The Captain is not here.

He'll be in this evening.

Ah, but the young man is very weary.

Can't we find

a place for him till then?

Not in the house,

perhaps in the barn.


Right, with the

horses on the straw.

There he can give the

letter to the Captain.


- Is that him?

- Yes.

We've tried everything we could

to wake him, without success.

Have you ever seen him before?

No, never.

Here's the letter.

He didn't want to let go of it.

From the Bavarian border,

no place name, dated 1828...

"His Excellency the Captain."

"Does it say "His Excellency"?

It does, yes!

"I'm senden yr Grace a bouye..."

Senden yr Grace,

hah hah!

Should I take that down?

Yes, please do.

"This here bouye wants

to serve his King faithfully."

"The bouye was laid me on..."

He says the boy was "laid"

him on 7th October, 1812.

"I am a poor laborer

with 10 children...

...and have enough to do

to feed myself and my wife.

His mother wanted to raise the

boy, but I couldn't ask her to.

I didn't tell her the boy

was laid on me by the Court.

I have not let him take one

step out of the house since 1812... nobody doesn't

know a thing about him.

You can ask him,

but he can't tell you.

I teached him reading and riting.

and he says he wants to be...

"...a gallant rider like his father."

A gallant rider, yes...

"...a gallant rider like his father

was before him. If he had parents...

...he would have been a smart fellow."

A smart fellow, yes.

"You only have to show

him something and he can do it.

But please do not

plie him with questions..."

Ply with 'ie'...

"He don't know where I am...

...I brought him away by night.

I am not signing my name."

No, there's no signature.

- Did you get it all down?

- Yes.

This is very odd.

Yes, indeed!

Should I report no signature?

Yes, and put this in the file.

I'll try him again...

No, don't. Leave him be.

You can see it's no use.

He seems to be

not quite all right in the head.

He's coming around...

Your name!

Should I report

that he refuses to talk?

Yes, name unknown.

Where are you from?

And his passport?

Gallant rider...


Where were you born?

He says he comes from Regensburg.

From Regensburg.

The intelligence of this man is

in a state of absolute confusion.

There's nothing to be

gained by police interrogation.

Should I take that down?

Nothing to be gained

by police interrogation, yes.

Refuses to answer.

He refuses to answer!

Right, and what do we do now?

Maybe he's hungry?

It's worth a try.

Lay him down again!

Spits out food!

Spat out food...

Let's have a look at his feet.

I say, those are old boots.

Those boots have very old toes!

Bleeding of the toes, scabs...

Indicates a long period of...

Feet extremely tender...

Both feet show same indications...

...of extreme tenderness.

Aha, vaccination marks!

The foundling seems to be

of the higher orders!

Foundling, yes, get that down.

Upper arm injured...

What was this injury caused by?

By a blunt instrument, I'd say.

Blunt instrument, I'd say.

The same marks here, and here...

Put that down!

A prayer book!

Entitled "Spiritual Forget-me-nots".

Beautiful and Devoted

Morning Prayers for Faithful Souls.

The other book...

...a printed treatise entitled

'Six Deep and Devotional Prayers'.

Put under 'other things'...

A four-cornered,

folded square of paper, containing...

...yes, a small quantity

of gold dust, or gold leaf.

Put that with the other things.

Then a rosary...rosary.

A rosary with a metal cross.

With the other things.

Under the circumstances,

this man should be taken into custody!

Put that down, word for word.

A pencil!

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Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog (German: [ˈvɛɐ̯nɐ ˈhɛɐ̯tsoːk]; born 5 September 1942) is a German screenwriter, film director, author, actor, and opera director. Herzog is a figure of the New German Cinema, along with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Margarethe von Trotta, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Schröter, and Wim Wenders. Herzog's films often feature ambitious protagonists with impossible dreams, people with unique talents in obscure fields, or individuals who are in conflict with nature.French filmmaker François Truffaut once called Herzog "the most important film director alive." American film critic Roger Ebert said that Herzog "has never created a single film that is compromised, shameful, made for pragmatic reasons, or uninteresting. Even his failures are spectacular." He was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time magazine in 2009. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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