Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Though the title of this German historical drama translates as The Trial, it bears no relation to the Franz Kafka novel of the same name. Instead, the film is based on a true story which took place in 19th century Hungary. When a young peasant girl commits suicide, the superstitious villagers, stirred up by the odiously anti-Semitic Baron Onody (Heinz Moog), immediately assume that she was the victim of a Jewish sacrificial ritual. Despite an utter lack of evidence (or common sense), all the Jews in town are rounded up and subjected to a mass trial. Risking his reputation and possibly his life, idealistic lawyer Dr. Eövötes (Ewald Balser) defends the Jews, forcing all of Hungary to come face to face with its blind and stupid prejudices. The first postwar effort by director G.W. Pabst, Der Prozess has been interpreted by some as Pabst's act of attrition after his reluctant professional association with the Nazis during WWII. Whatever the case, the film, which earned Pabst a Best Director award at the 1948 Venice Film Festival, remains one of the director's finest works.
killing, anti-Semitism, courtroom, false-accusation, investigation, Judaism, lawyer, murder, suicide, trial [courtroom], verdict