Die Seltsame Gräfin
The Strange Countess
West Germany 1961
Horst Wendlandt, Herbert Sennewald (executive) for Rialto Film
directed by Josef von Báky
starring Joachim Fuchsberger, Brigitte Grothum, Lil Dagover, Klaus Kinski, Marianne Hoppe, Rudolf Fernau, Richard Häussler, Edith Hancke, Eddi Arent, Fritz Rasp, Reinhard Kolldehoff, Alexander Engel, Albert Bessler, Werner Buttler
screenplay by Curt Hanno Gutbrod, Robert A. Stemmle, based on the novel by Edgar Wallace, music by Peter Thomas
Rialto's Edgar Wallace cycle, Edgar Wallace made in Germany
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Since Margaret Reedle (Brigitte Grothum) has accepted a job with
Countess Moron (!) (Lil Dagover), attempt after attempt on her life is
made, and she receives threatening phonecalls from a madman Stuart Bresset
(Klaus Kinski), who seems to escape from the loonie bin every other day.
It's jsut a good thing that her current lawyer Shaddle (Fritz Rasp) has
hired Mike Dorn (Joachim Fuchsberger) to watch over her, otherwise she
would have died at least three times - why he hired Dorn though without
telling Margaret is at anybody's guess.
Then there is an unexpected development: Margaret finds out she has
only been adopted by who she thought her mother and her real mother,
convicted diamond thief Mary Pinder (Marianne Hoppe), is just released
from prison and will take a job at Countess Moron's place, since the good
Moron ... er Countess makes it her business to look after reformed
convicts. Before long though, everything goes topsy turvey, and both
Margaret and her (real) mother are thrown into Doctor Tappatt's (Rudolf
Fernau) mental institution (exactly the loonie bin madman Stuart Bresset
always escapes from), and it turns out the good Countess, her financial
advisor (Richard Häussler) and Doc Tappatt are the diamond thieves behind
the heist Margaret's mother was convicted for, and now they want to ... I
don't know what exactly, beut they are hell-bent on doing it.
Of course, in the end, dashing hero Dorn saves the day and makes sure
the baddies all get their just desserts while he himself gets the girl -
Margaret that is.
I'll admit, the German Edgar Wallace mysteries are all over-convoluted
whodunnits that often lack reason but are full of plotholes and
unrealistic plottwists to bring the film to an end - and they are mainly
this way because this was the way Wallace wrote his novels.
Die Seltsame Gräfin however is over-convoluted and illogical
even by Edgar Wallace-standards, no matter which way you look at it, the
film fails to make any sense. That said, if you like the German Edgar
Wallace films for their cheesiness and for their shortcomings, you will
probably like this one, because in a way it's hilarious. Just don't take
it seriously !!!