Fräulein Doktor (film)
theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Alberto Lattuada|
|Produced by||Dino De Laurentis|
|Screenplay by||Duilio Coletti|
H. A. L. Craig
|Story by||Vittoriano Petrilli|
|Music by||Ennio Morricone|
|Edited by||Nino Baragli|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|24 January 1969 (Italy)|
15 May 1969 (US)
Fräulein Doktor is a First World War spy film released in 1969, loosely based on the life of Elsbeth Schragmüller. It was an Italian and Yugoslavian co-production directed by Alberto Lattuada, starring Suzy Kendall and Kenneth More, and featuring Capucine, James Booth, Giancarlo Giannini and Nigel Green. It was produced by Dino De Laurentiis and has a music score by Ennio Morricone. It was distributed by Paramount Pictures in the United States.
A woman spy and some male agents working for the Germans during World War I land at night near the British naval base at Scapa Flow, from a U-boat. The British, led by Col. Foreman, ambush the landing party, capturing two of the men, but the woman gets away. Foreman fakes the execution of one of the spies, thus tricking the second one, Meyer, into becoming a double agent in the hopes of using him to capture his woman accomplice, whom Meyer identifies under the codename Fraulein Doktor. Fraulein Doktor is portrayed as a brilliant spy who stole a formula for a skin blistering gas similar to mustard gas which the Germans used to great effect against the Allies on the battlefield.
Meanwhile, Fraulein Doktor seduces a laundryman to find out which ship Lord Kitchener will be sailing on to Russia, and when it will sail. She then helps a German U-boat to sink HMS Hampshire outside Scapa Flow with Kitchener on it, taking his life. For this, she is awarded the Pour Le Merite. Meyer re-appears in Berlin and courts her. The German intelligence service is suspicious of Meyer's escape from the British, but use him to poison Fraulein Doktor because of her addiction to morphine. Meyer is shown her dead body and later makes his way back to the British to confirm her death.
However, Fraulein Doktor's death was faked for Meyer's benefit so she would be free of suspicion for her next assignment, getting Allied defense plans for a German attack in Belgium. Under cover as a Spanish contessa, she recruits Spanish nurses to staff a hospital train to serve the Allied front. During the trip from Spain to France, she brings aboard German agents who will impersonate Belgian officers to penetrate Belgium Army headquarters and steal the plans.
Col. Foremen is still not convinced of her death and shows up at the same army headquarters with Meyer in tow. The German agents steal the plans and in a deadly shootout with sentries, one gets away back to German lines. The Germans then launch their attack with great success, but Col. Foreman confronts Fraulein Doktor. Meyer kills Foreman but is in turned killed by the advancing German troops. Fraulein Doktor is then whisked away by the Germans, but suffers a breakdown as she is being driven off through all the carnage and death about her.
- Suzy Kendall as Fräulein Doktor
- Kenneth More as Colonel Foreman
- Capucine as Dr. Saforet
- James Booth as Meyer
- Alexander Knox as General Peronne
- Nigel Green as Col. Mathesius
- Giancarlo Giannini as Lieutenant Hans Rupert
Production and release
Location shooting for Fräulein Doktor took place in Yugoslavia and Hungary.
It was released in Yugoslavia under the name Gospođica Doktor - špijunka bez imena, and in Italy as Fraulein Doktor. In the United States, consideration was given to the possible titles "Nameless" and "The Betrayal". Colonel Mathesius was played by Eric von Stroheim in the 1937 film Under Secret Orders.
The soundtrack by Ennio Morricone was released on its own in 2010 by Intermezzo Media.
According to one dvd site offering Fraulein Doktor, the film is now in the Public Domain.
- Elsbeth Schragmüller
- Other films about the spy known as "Mademoiselle Docteur" or "Fräulein Doktor":
- Stamboul Quest – 1934 American film starring Myrna Loy
- Mademoiselle Docteur (also known as Salonique, nid d’espions and Street of Shadows) – 1937 French film directed by G.W. Pabst
- Mademoiselle Doctor (also known as Under Secret Orders) – 1937 English film directed by Edmond T. Gréville, an English version of the above, shot at the same time, but with some cast changes.
- "Fraulein Doktor (1969) - Notes - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- Milano-Firenze, Mo-Net s.r.l. "Fraulein Doktor (1969)". MyMovies.it. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- "Yle Teema - yle.fi". YLE.fi. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- "Fraulein Doktor DVD 1969 Suzy Kendall Kenneth More for sale". www.IOffer.com. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- Fraulein Doktor, soundtrack, IntermezzoMedia released August 6, 2010
- Fraulein Doktor; Rarewarfilms.com Retrieved April 7, 2018
- Thames, Stephanie. "Stamboul Quest (1934)" (article) on TCM.com