ⓘ Steppenwolf (film)

Steppenwolf (film)

ⓘ Steppenwolf (film)

Steppenwolf is a 1974 film adaptation of Hermann Hesses 1927 novel Steppenwolf. The film made heavy use of visual special effects that were cutting-edge at the time of its release. It follows the adventures of a half-man, half-animal individual named Harry Haller, who in the Germany of the 1920s, is depressed, resentful of his middle class station, and wants to die not knowing the world around him. He then meets two strange people who introduce him to life and a bizarre world called the "Magic Theater".


1. Cast

  • Eduard Linkers as Mr. Hefte
  • Max von Sydow as Harry Haller
  • Charles Regnier as Loering
  • Carla Romanelli as Maria
  • Judith Mellies as Rosa O`Flynn
  • Helen Hesse as Frau Hefte
  • Niels-Peter Rudolph as Gustav
  • Pierre Clementi as Pablo
  • Dominique Sanda as Hermine
  • Alfred Baillou as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Helmut Fornbacher as Franz
  • Sylvia Reize as Dora
  • Roy Bosier as Aztec


Cast notes:

  • Helen Hesse was Herman Hesses granddaughter. Hesses daughter-in-lawe, Ida, worked as a still photographer on the set.

2. Production

The film took seven years of complicated pre-production because its producers, Melvin Abner Fishman and Richard Herland. Fishman – a student of Jung and alchemy – wanted the film to be "the first Jungian film" and built up relationships with the Hesse family that allowed the film rights of the book to be released. Herland raised the finances.

Directors Michelangelo Antonioni and John Frankenheimer, as well as the actor James Coburn were all touted to direct the film. In the end, the film was directed by its screenwriter, Fred Haines.

Although Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon and Timothy Leary were all proposed as playing the main role of Harry Haller, the role eventually went to Max von Sydow. Although the film was made in English, none of the principal actors were native English speakers.

Steppenwolf was filmed on location in Basel, Switzerland, Wiesbaden, Germany, and at Studio Hamburg in Germany.

Finally, the rights to the finished film were entirely given over to Peter Sprague, its financier. A "marketing disaster" followed, which included the colour of the prints coming out incorrectly. For decades the film remained little seen except for brief runs in art film houses.

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