Hans Castorp (Christoph Eichhorn), orphaned at an early age, is the 24-year-old son of an aristocratic family from Hamburg. In 1907, after passing his exams that qualify him as an engineer, he travels to Davos to spend three weeks with his consumptive cousin Joachim Ziemßen (Alexander Radszun) in a swanky sanatorium. Initially alienated by the prevalent “we up here” atmosphere of illness and morbid eroticism, Hans soon becomes increasingly willing to acclimatize to the “Berghof”. Fascinated by the hermetic enchantment of the place, he himself falls ill. And he falls in love with a woman of captivating charisma, the tantalizing Russian Clavdia Chauchat (Marie-France Pisier). At the end of an intoxicated carnival evening shortly before her departure, they spend the night together and Hans is determined to await her return. In the years of Madame Chauchat’s absence, Hans’s life becomes dominated by the Jesuit communist Naphta, and the liberal humanist Settembrini (Flavio Bucci). Both enter into a duel on his account, a duel with a fatal outcome. When Clavdia Chauchat returns to the “Berghof”, she is unmistakably accompanied by a man of the world, Mynheer Peeperkorn (Rod Steiger), who succeeds in gaining great influence over Hans in just a few days before committing suicide under mysterious circumstances.

Hans’ stay of seven years on the “Magic Mountain” is replaced in macabre fashion by his participation in “a global festival of death”, the Great War of 1914/18.


Rod Steiger, Marie-France Pisier, Flavio Bucci, Christoph Eichhorn, Hans Christian Blech, Alexander Radszun, Margot Hielscher, Gudrun Gabriel, Ann Zacharias, Irm Hermann, Kurt Raab, Rolf Zacher, Tilo Prückner, Charles Aznavour a.o.


Director: Hans W. Geißendörfer

Script: Hans W. Geißendörfer based on the novel by Thomas Mann

Cinematography: Michael Ballhaus

Production: Franz Seitz Film/ Iduna-Film, Gaumont S.A., Paris/Opera-Film, ZDF

Editor: Wolfgang Patzschke

“Filmband in Silber” at the Deutscher Filmpreis, 1982