Brainwashed (film)

Infobox Film
name = Brainwashed

image_size =
caption =
director = Gerd Oswald
producer = Luggi Waldleitner
writer = Harold Medford,
Gerd Oswald
narrator =
starring = Curd Jürgens,
Hansjörg Felmy
music = Hans-Martin Majewski
cinematography = Günther Senftleben
editing = K. M. Eckstein
distributor =
released = Flagicon|Germany September 16, 1960
runtime = 102 min
country = Germany
language = German
budget =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0054272

Brainwashed (original title "Schachnovelle") is a German film. The 1960 film is based on Stefan Zweig's novella "The Royal Game".


Chess worldchampion Centowic wants to travel by ship to an important chess tournament. The ship, however, starts behind schedule, because a mysterious and obviously anxious passenger, who is on his way to the port with Bishop Ambrosse, is expected.

During the trip, passengers ask grumpy Centowic to play a chess game, which he reluctantly agrees to. Centowic's opponents are about to lose the match. Though, the mysterious passenger, who accidentally joins the scene, intervenes and helps them to turn the match into a draw. Centowic is amazed to not have ever seen the stranger, who, as he says, has just had his first chess piece in his hands, at any important tournament.

A flashback tells the stranger's story: He is Werner von Basil, an Austrian lawyer. Together with Bishop Ambrosse, he hides art treasures abroad in order to protect them from the national socialists who had just occupied Austria. Von Basil doesn't take the bishop's warnings about the threat for him too serious. On a party given by von Basil, the newly inaugurated Gestapo man Hans Berger engages ballet dancer Irene Andreny, who is his girlfriend, to learn from von Basil where the art treasures are. When she is unsuccessfull, Berger has von Basil arrested the same evening. In order to break von Basil's will, Berger puts him into solitary confinement. Von Basil is taken his personal belongings from; the only variety in his every-day routine is the guardian who provides him with food.

Berger is pressurized not only by Irene, who feels neglected, but also by his superior Hartmann, as von Basil keeps the hiding-place of the art treasures a secret even after six weeks of isolation. As von Basil pretends to be cooperative and is brought to a questioning, he succeeds in stealing a book from a coat pocket. In the questioning, von Basil drops Berger in it and feels the sympathy the present Irene feels for him. Back again in his room, von Basil is disappointed to learn that the book he has stolen just deals with chess matches. Due to a lack of activity alternatives, von Basil reads it and uses pieces of bread as chess pieces to re-enact the chess matches described in the book. Even as Berger reveals his secret and deprives him off the book, von Basil plays chess against himself in his mind.

After asking bishop Ambrosse for help, Irene begs Berger to release von Basil but is insulted by Berger. As von Basil suffers from a nervous breakdown but still refuses to reveal his secrets, Hartmann now tries on his own to break von Basil's will.

As von Basil plays yet another match against Centowic, he furiously attacks Centowic, as he wants to learn form Centowic, how much information he gave during his solitary confinement. Irene joins the scene and is able to calm down von Basil that he revealed none of his secrets. Irene was spared off harassments; Berger was no longer of use for his superiors. Von Basil and Irene fall in love with each other.


*Curd Jürgens — von Basil
*Hansjörg Felmy — Berger
*Mario Adorf — Karl Centowic
*Claire Broom — Irene Andreny
*Hans Söhnker — Bishop Ambrosse
*Albert Bessler — Scientist
*Rudolf Forster — Hotel manager
*Alan Gifford — Mac Iver
*Jan Hendriks — First Officer
*Albert Lieven — Hartmann
*Harald Maresch — Ballet Master
*Dietmar Schönherr — Rabbi
*Karel Stepanek — Baranow
*Wolfgang Wahl — von Basils' Guardian, called "Moonface"
*Dorothea Wieck — Countess
*Rjik de Gooyer — Berger's Secretary
*Susanne Körber-Harlan — Young Lady

External links

* [ Webpage about the film]

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