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Die Seltsame Gräfin

The Strange Countess

West Germany 1961
produced by
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

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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 !!!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD