Synopsis by Mark Deming
Vittorio De Sica's version of a play by Jean-Paul Sartre stars Frederic March as Albrecht von Gerlach, the owner of one of Germany's biggest industrial firms. Albrecht calls for his son Werner (Robert Wagner), a lawyer who is married to an actress, Johanna (Sophia Loren). The aging Albrecht wants Werner to take over the family business, but Werner is not interested, as he knows that the company helped to build the Nazi war machine that caused the deaths of millions of people. Werner, however, was not first in the line of succession; his older brother Franz (Maximilian Schell) was running the company for his father during the war, and as a result he was cited for war crimes and executed. Or so everyone believes. In fact, Franz was able to escape the gallows, and he lives in the basement of the family's Altona estate, watched over by his sister Leni (Francoise Prevost). Franz has gone mad, and he believes Leni when she tells him that Germany never recovered from its defeat in the war and that poverty has layed waste to the nation.
war, actor, arrest, brother, business, concentration-camp, criminal, death, dishonesty, disturbance, dysfunctional, estate, exile, family, family-business, family-illness, father, forgiveness, Germany, guilt, killing, lawyer, magnate, Nazism, playboy, Russia, scream, son, suicide, torture, truth, war-crimes