Daniel – Der Zauberer

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Daniel – Der Zauberer
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ulli Lommel
Produced by Peter Schamoni
Written by Ulli Lommel
Music by Robert Schulze
Cinematography Manuel Lommel
Edited by Angelika Steinbock
Peter Schamoni Film
Distributed by Stella / Rekord-Film
Release date
12 August 2004
Running time
81 minutes
Country Germany
Language German

Daniel – Der Zauberer (translated: Daniel – The Wizard) is a German comedy-drama film written and directed by Ulli Lommel, starring pop singer Daniel Küblböck as himself. The film is considered to be one of the worst of all time.


The successful singer Daniel Küblböck is "loved by millions, hated by many" (as the subtitle says). The teenagers Rike and Tom decide to kill Daniel. They are morally but not directly supported by Baltazar. Whereas Daniel gets support from his dead grandfather Johnny who mostly carries a baritone horn and a wand on his person, has sometimes just one arm and wears a cap under his top hat.

The first attempt on Daniel's life fails, because the teenagers are discovered and scared away by Daniel's vocal coach. Daniel shall take part in a screen test for Hollywood. Meanwhile, Johnny and Baltazar talk with each other. Suddenly Johnny changes Baltazar into a cockroach. He assumes human shape again as he says the words: "I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!"

Later the girl Petra visits Daniel. She is a fan of Daniel and wrote him a letter before. Petra works at the café of her grandfather (Grandpa Winter) in Daniel's hometown Eggenfelden. Grandpa Winter can't stand Daniel's music and the guests of his café agree with him. Daniel samples some tortes with his finger, buys them and gives Petra two cost-free tickets for his last concert of this year that takes place in Passau.

Rike and Tom plan to shoot Daniel on the stage at this concert. But instead Rike just kidnaps Daniel and brings him to her house. Soon after that Tom arrives. Beforehand Baltazar encouraged Tom to kill Daniel once more. Tom and Rike want to film Daniel's execution, in order to become superstars themselves. When Daniel is alone in the room, his grandfather appears and emboldens Daniel to take the hardest test. Afterwards Rike and Tom don't bring off Daniel's murder. Instead of it they talk about their unhappy childhoods. Tom confesses that Daniel's latest hit song isn't bad in his opinion. Rike goes away and Tom makes a deal with Daniel. He releases Daniel and in return Daniel doesn't report the kidnap. Finally, Daniel returns to his concert. Grandpa Winter who is a concert attendee becomes convinced of Daniel and after it, he's a fan of him who behaves like a teenager.

Johnny appears again in the evening. As Daniel asked for his Christmas gift, Johnny says to him that he forgot Rike and Tom and that he shall give them his new guitar. At first, Daniel disagrees with him, but then he does it anyway, whereupon the three of them become best friends.

After all, Daniel finds a wand under the Christmas tree, with the note: "By the One-Armed". Daniel's grandma tells that her husband had just one arm. He was a musician at the Oktoberfest. She shows a picture of him and Daniel says that he appeared several times to him. His grandma says that Daniel is only allowed to use the wand in order to help people.

Johnny and Baltazar meet again. Baltazar says to him that Johnny won the fight, but the war isn't over yet and the new wizard doesn't know how to use the wand rightly.



Director Ulli Lommel stated that he wanted to make a film that shows young people how to deal with frustration and hate without getting into the eternal cycle of hate and counterhate. In his opinion the understanding between the old and the young people and the mutual trust play an important role in it and so he decided to shoot the film with an intergenerational cast.[1] The cast features experienced actors like Lommel, Schamoni, Brem and Rupé; young actors like Eden and Möller; and also lay actors like Küblböck. All scenes were filmed spontaneously.[2]

The film includes many references to Küblböck's real life: For example, when Daniel has a nightmare in the film, a scene from his appearance in the reality TV show "Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus!" is displayed, in which he had to lie in a coffin full of cockroaches. Headlines about Daniel Küblböck in the tabloid newspaper Bild are also shown (one refers to Küblböck's car accident with a truck).

Ulli Lommel tried to find an explanation for the controversy about Daniel Küblböck in Germany:

I know that from my childhood: In Germany we were taught this way: You must not do certain things. You have to behave yourself. And now there is Daniel and he isn't willing to take those fixed bourgeois roles. He creates his own role. He breaks taboos, makes himself up, dresses like a girl. He cries, is clownish, is hysterical. For short: He doesn't behave himself. And because he does this in public, I think some consider this as a salvation and love him and others can't bear this and hate him.[3]

— Ulli Lommel on Daniel Küblböck

The film contains four songs by Daniel Küblböck:

  • "Teenage Tears" (peaked at #16 on the German singles chart)
  • "My Life Is Magic"
  • "Man in the Moon"
  • "The Skin I'm In"


Daniel – Der Zauberer was released in Germany on 12 August 2004, and was watched by 13,834 viewers in total.[4] Most cinemas removed the film from their programme after the first week, because of the low number of attendees. On 30 September 2005 the film was released on DVD (available in Germany and Austria only).


The film was universally panned and is considered one of the worst films ever made. The website filmstarts.de states that Daniel - Der Zauberer was "unbearable for non-fans of Küblböck", "the performances of the actors were some of the worst in the history of German cinema" and that Ulli Lommel and producer Peter Schamoni "damaged their reputation."[5] Another critic from the website filmzentrale.de described Daniel Küblböck as a hero of the recent German trash culture. He wrote that the film is staged like an Off-Off-Broadway play. Everything in this film had the touch of the half-finished, temporary and uncertain and therefore it would be loveable. Küblböck would cultivate the lowbrow through to the camp, he'd present the beautiful sentimentality and the great kitsch.[6]

The film became the lowest ranked film on the IMDb Bottom 100, where it remained for a considerable amount of time, and wieistderfilm.de stated it was fair to call it the worst German film ever made.[7] It appeared on Total Film's list of the 66 worst films of all time.[8] In an interview conducted several years after its release Daniel Küblböck admitted that in retrospect "You have to say this is the worst movie of all time really."[9]

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