Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Rainer Werner Fassbinder|
|Written by||Tom Stoppard (screenplay)
Vladimir Nabokov (novel)
|Music by||Peer Raben|
|Edited by||Reginald Beck
|Distributed by||Filmverlag der Autoren (West Germany)
New Line Cinema (USA)
|1978 (West Germany)
Similarly to the novel, the tone of the film is ironic. The plot is mostly similar to the novel, although one of the key characters is significantly altered in the adaptation.
Hermann Hermann is a successful entrepreneur in the 1930s Germany. As the Nazis gradually rise to power, Hermann, who is a Russian émigré, becomes increasingly frightened and mentally unstable. His attempts at leaving the country are accompanied by symptoms of madness, the most vivid being his belief that he found his exact double, although the person in question differs from him in every respect. He creates an elaborate plan that would allow him to flee to Switzerland, but it soon becomes unclear whether his voyage leads him to a neutral country or merely allows him to take refuge in his madness. 
- Dirk Bogarde – Hermann Hermann
- Andréa Ferréol – Lydia Hermann
- Klaus Löwitsch – Felix Weber
- Volker Spengler – Ardalion
- Peter Kern – Müller
- Alexander Allerson – Mayer
- Gottfried John – Perebrodov
- Hark Bohm – Doctor
- Bernhard Wicki – Orlovius
- Adrian Hoven – Inspector Schelling
- Roger Fritz – Inspector Braun
- Y Sa Lo – Elsie
- Armin Meier – 1st Twin/2nd Twin/Foreman
- Ingrid Caven – Hotel receptionist
- Voli Geiler – Madam
- Some sources do not credit Beck's editing, but the listing submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for Academy Award consideration does include him as an editor. The listing does not include Franz Walsch, a pseudonym for Fassbinder, who is often credited as an editor, but it does include Fassbinder. See "Index to Motion Picture Credits: Despair". Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2015-09-30.
- Le Cain, Maximilian (December 2003). "Dreams of Fassbinder: An Interview with Juliane Lorenz". Senses of Cinema (29).
But I learned editing that night… We really created the film anew in one night because Rainer had an English editor, Reginald Beck, who started the editing but they didn’t get along. I took it over and we created a new story.
- "Festival de Cannes: Despair". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- Despair (DVD (region 1)). Olive Films. 2011. OCLC 722924420. Restoration by Bavaria Media in co-operation with Cinepostproduction.
- Despair (Blu-Ray (region 1)). Olive Films. 2011. OCLC 800429901. Restoration by Bavaria Media in co-operation with Cinepostproduction.
- Lopate, Phillip. "A Date with Fassbinder & Despair". lingo 6. A personal essay related to the author's first viewing of Despair in 1979.
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