Manfred Blank, Wolf-Eckart Bühler

Scen.: Hella Kothman. F.: Bernd Fiedler. M.: Manfred Blank. Int.: Sterling Hayden. Prod.: Wolf-Eckart Bühler per Bühler Films, Red Harvest Film. DCP. D.: 114’. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Whatever predisposition you may have to the life and ruminations of actor-rebel-latterday-Dutch bargeman Sterling Hayden, this German-made, autobiographical film is the stuff of human, often painful candour. […]
A young German documentary crew climbed aboard Hayden’s colourful barge on a leafy river in Holland, point­ed a camera in his direction, and, to use Hayden’s favourite phrase in the film, “let her rip”. The result is a fascinating confessional, intercut with stills, clips, and garish Commie-hitman headlines from Hayden’s largely B-movie Hollywood career of the 1950s. […]
Hayden, filmed on his boat in sackcloth and beard and alternately swigging from a fifth of Ballantine’s, talks to his filmmakers with almost a paternal urgency. This translates to a remarkably honest self-portrait. Indeed, Hayden occasionally plays the great guru, a self-parodic Ernest Hemingway.
But Leuchtturm des Chaos (the name of his barge) is so full of the cutting edge of self-revelation that there’s a universality in the human spill. Those who have read his autobiographical Wanderer, named for the yacht on which he absconded with his four kids to sail to Tahiti in the late 1950s, will find more updates here. During one dramatic moment in the film, the film­makers interrupt the proceedings to re­count off-screen how Hayden, the evening before, had come aboard his barge so drunk that he fell into the water and had to be rescued by his son (one of his four who still lives with him). We see Hayden deal with this when he regroups the next morning, and his thoughts on alcohol, like his haunted feelings about betraying friends before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the Red Scare in 1951, are voiced with calm but tense laconic struggle. […]
German producer and co-director Wolf-Eckart Bühler never takes the camera off Hayden except for black-and-white Hollywood flashbacks. To see Hayden walking like Moses along a Flemish riverbank and then to cut to an old “Los Angeles Examiner” headline – Four Stars for Hayden! He Names Commies – is a job that keeps the con­tradictions overwhelming.

Loyn., “Variety”, 27 April 1983

Copy From

by courtesy of Wolf-Eckart Bühler.
Restored in 2017 by Filmmuseum München at Alpha Omega Digital laboratory from 16mm camera negatives