The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (film)

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The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum
Directed by Volker Schlöndorff
Margarethe von Trotta
Written by Heinrich Böll (novel)
Volker Schlöndorff
Starring Angela Winkler
Mario Adorf
Dieter Laser
Jürgen Prochnow
Music by Hans Werner Henze
Edited by Peter Przygodda
Release dates
  • 3 October 1975 (1975-10-03) (premiere at NYFF)
  • 10 October 1975 (1975-10-10)
Running time
106 minutes
Country West Germany
Language German

The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, or: how violence develops and where it can lead (German original title: Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann) is a 1975 film adaptation by Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe von Trotta of the novel of the same name by Heinrich Böll.

The film stars Angela Winkler as Blum, Mario Adorf as Kommissar Beizmenne, Dieter Laser as Tötges, and Jürgen Prochnow as Ludwig.


The title character is an innocent housekeeper whose life is ruined by an invasive tabloid reporter and a police investigation when the man with whom she has just fallen in love turns out to be a radical bank robber. The film, unlike the novel, ends with a scene at Tötges' funeral, with his publisher delivering a hypocritical condemnation of the murder as an infringement on the freedom of the press.

Cast (selected)[edit]


In the beginning of Heinrich Böll's book, and at the end of von Trotta's and Schlöndorff's cinematic interpretation of it, the following text appears:

The characters and action in this story are purely fictitious. Should the description of certain journalistic practices result in a resemblance to the practices of Bild-Zeitung, such resemblance is neither intentional, nor fortuitous, but unavoidable.

In interviews for the 2003 Criterion Collection DVD release of the film, Schlöndorff and other crew members argue for the film's continued relevance today, drawing an analogy between the political climate of panic over terrorism in 1970s West Germany and the post-September 11, 2001 situation in the U.S. where unsubstantiated media hype was used to launch the invasion of Iraq.

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