Film Info: Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam

Devil Strikes at Night, The (Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam)

Devil Strikes at Night, The
Scene from "The Devil Strikes at Night" (photo courtesy of Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek/Filmmuseum Berlin)

Berlin, 1944. A series of unsolved murder cases arouses the interest of chief inspector Axel Kersten. He's the first to realize that more than 80 women over the last twelve years have been slain by the same person. In his search for the brutal serial killer he's assisted by the SS Group Leader Rossdorf. The SS sees a show trial against a mass murderer as their chance to be able to come down harder on people with hereditary diseases who are "unworthy of life." Then Axel's colleagues from Hamburg present him a prime suspect on a silver platter: the shady small-time criminal Willi. Axel, however, doesn't believe that Willi is guilty. He continues his investigations and finds proof that the real killer is the mentally ill Bruno. But it seems that Nazi leadership has no use for the truth. The last thing Hitler wants in this difficult phase of the war is a scandal, a show trial or proof that his police apparatus is incompetent. Willi is convicted on the basis of construed evidence, Axel transferred to the front and Bruno inconspicuously liquidated. The case of the serial killer Bruno never existed in Nationalist-Socialist Germany...


Robert Siodmak was born in 1900 in Dresden and died in 1973 in Locarno. He studied in Marburg and worked as an actor, film translator and editor. In 1940, he went to the United States and made a name for himself with his psychologically accentuated crime story films. He was a representative of the humanistic-realism of German films prior to 1933 and one of the most important American directors of the "Black Series". His films include: Abschied (1930), Voruntersuchung (1931) - which was blacklisted in 1933 -, Brennendes Geheimnis (1933), The Suspect (Unter Verdacht, 1944), The Spiral Staircase (Die Wendeltreppe, 1945), The Devil Came at Night (Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam, 1957) - which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1958, and many more.
Genre History, Thriller, Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 1957
Director Robert Siodmak
Screenplay Werner Joerg Lueddecke
Cinematography Georg Krause
Walter Boos
Siegfried Franz
Rolf Zehetbauer, Gottfried Will
Cast Mario Adorf, Annemarie Dueringer, Werner Peters, Hannes Messemer, Peter Carsten, Claus Holm, Monika John, Carl Lange, Rosel Schaefer
Producers Robert Siodmak, Walter Traut
Production Company Divina Film/Munich
Length 104 min
Format 35 mm, b&w
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Karlovy Vary 1958
Awards Bambi 1957, 10 German Film Awards 1958, 2 German Film Critics' Awards 1958
German Distributor Deutsche Kinemathek - Museum für Film und Fernsehen/Berlin

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