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Derrick - Dem Mörder eine Kerze

episode 77

West Germany 1980
produced by
Claus Legal, Gustl Gotzler (executive), Helmut Ringelmann (executive) for Telenova/ZDF
directed by Dietrich Haugk
starring Horst Tappert, Fritz Wepper, Horst Frank, Sascha Hehn, Käte Jaenicke, Eva Ingeborg Scholz, Rolf Castell, Sven-Eric Bechtolf, Katja Bienert, Heide Ackermann, Kai Dette, Saskia Drungowski, Nikki Franz, Josef Fröhlich, Angela Hillebrecht, Christina Jens, Stefan Miller, Sylvia Weiss
written by Herbert Reinecker, music by Frank Duval, title theme by Les Humphries

Derrick, Harry Klein

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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At the dead of night, Father Scholz (Horst Frank) is woken up by a tortured (yet unidentified) soul to make a confession. The next day, the priest shows up at the scene of a murder, a photographer was shot in his studio and all he could leave as a clue was a piece of paper with the word "school" on it. Investigating Inspector Derrick (Horst Tappert) and his assistant Harry (Fritz Wepper) immediately wonder about the priest - but cannot get him to talk as he insists on the seal of confession. However, the word "school" leads Derrick and Harry to a nearby high school where a few of the photographer's young models came from, and wouldn't you know it, the priest serves as substitute teacher at that school. The two are somewhat reinforced in their assumption that the school has something to do with it when Gronau (Sascha Hehn), a male model who wants to take over the deceased's studio, gets nervous every time Derrick mentions the school. Derrick soon identifies the students in the photographer's pictures, and one Albert (Sven-Eric Bechtolf) seems to be their ringleader - but he blocks off all of Derrick's attempts to interrogate him. But Derrick and Harry track down Albert's girlfriend Vera (Katja Bienert), a nervous, catatonic wreck of late, which strongly suggests something has happened to her, and only recently, that might have to do with the murder. Eventually, Albert confesses that the photographer filmed some porn as a sideline, and would drug his female performers into participating - and Vera was one of them. Albert even leads Derrick and Harry to the porn cinema where Vera's movie's playing, but when he recognizes who Vera has sex with in the movie, Albert slips the policemen's clutches, tracks down Vera's scene partner - who happens to be Gronau - and shoots him dead, just before Derrick and Harry can catch up ...


Apart from the porn undercurrents - calculated to both shock and titilate audiences and used as an excuse to include some topless nudity - this is pretty much business as usual, your typical Derrick mystery with the killer easily identifiable early on and even the motive isn't that hard to guess. That's not to say this one isn't fun to watch, with its stilted dialogue, forced situations and the like, it's just very routine in both content and execution.


What is of some interest though (at least for exploitation aficionados) is the episode's cast, including Horst Frank, a mainstay of genre entertainment since the 1950s who has tackled about any genre imaginable, Sascha Hehn, who in the 1970s had a career in erotic cinema but by the turn of the decade was already on his transition to kitsch TV mainstay, and young Katja Bienert, who shot Schoolgirl Report 13 the same year and was on the verge of becoming a star of Euro erotica.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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directed by
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