Tenderness of the Wolves (1973)

aka Die Zartlichkeit der Wolfe
Article 2678 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-27-2008
Posting Date: 12-12-2008
Directed by Ulli Lommel
Featuring Kurt Raab, Jeff Roden, Margit Carstensen
Country: West Germany

A serial killer who preys on young men and boys is loose in Germany. The police begin to suspect that a black marketer they deputized to round up other criminals may be the culprit.

I’m not familiar with the work of Ulli Lommel either as a director or as an actor who had a long association with cult item Rainer Werner Fassbinder, but I’ve gotten the impression that most of his directorial work is pretty weak. If the ratings on IMDB are any indication, this is far and away his best movie, a crime/horror thriller based on the exploits of serial killer Fritz Haarmann (who killed his victims by biting their necks, and then, with the help of his assistant, cut up the bodies and sold them for meat) and modeled somewhat off of Fritz Lang’s M. One can definitely see Lang’s influence on the style of this movie, and Kurt Raab (who gives a strong performance) even looks like Peter Lorre. In terms of violence, the movie is fairly mild, but its emphasis on the gay sexual orientation of the killer is likely to alienate many viewers. Fassbinder has a small role in the film.



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