The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (German: Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle - Kaspar Hauser)[N 1] is a 1974 German drama film written and directed by Werner Herzog and starring Bruno Schleinstein and Walter Ladengast. The film follows the real story of Kaspar Hauser quite closely, using the text of actual letters found with Hauser.
The film follows Kaspar Hauser (Bruno Schleinstein), who lived the first seventeen years of his life chained in a tiny cellar with only a toy horse to occupy his time, devoid of all human contact except for a man, wearing a black overcoat and top hat, who feeds him.
One day, in 1828, the same man takes Hauser out of his cell, teaches him a few phrases, and how to walk, before leaving him in the town of Nuremberg. Hauser becomes the subject of much curiosity, and is exhibited in a circus before being rescued by Herr Daumer (Walter Ladengast), who patiently attempts to transform him.
Hauser soon learns to read and write, and develops unorthodox approaches to logic and religion; but music is what pleases him most. He attracts the attention of academics, clergy, and nobility, but is then physically attacked by the same unknown man who brought him to Nuremberg. The attack leaves him unconscious with a bleeding head. He recovers but is again mysteriously attacked, this time stabbed in the chest.
The film follows the real story of Kaspar Hauser quite closely, using the text of actual letters found with Hauser, and following many details in the opening sequence of Hauser's confinement and release. One notable departure is with his apparent age. Although the historical Hauser was 17 when he was discovered in Nuremberg and the film implies this, the character is played by actor Bruno Schleinstein who was 41 years old at the time of filming.
- Bruno Schleinstein as Kaspar Hauser
- Walter Ladengast as Professor Daumer
- Brigitte Mira as Kathe, Servant
- Reinhard Hauff as Farmer
- Herbert Fritsch as Mayor
- Florian Fricke as M. Florian
- Henry van Lyck as Calvary Captain
- Willy Semmelrogge as Circus director
- Michael Kroecher as Lord Stanhope
- Hans Musäus as Unknown Man
- Marcus Weller
- Gloria Doer as Frau Hiltel
- Volker Prechtel as Hiltel the prison guard
- Herbert Achternbusch as Bavarian Chicken Hypnotizer
- Wolfgang Bauer
- Wilhelm Bayer as Taunting Farmboy
- Franz Brumbach
- Johannes Buzalski as Police Officer
- Helmut Döring as Little King
- Enno Patalas as Pastor Fuhrmann
- Clemens Scheitz as Registrar
- Alfred Edel as Logic Professor
- Andi Gottwald as Young Mozart
- Kidlat Tahimik as Hombrecito