The Priest of St. Pauli | Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli:

The film “The Priest of St. Pauli” (German original title: “Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli” is certainly not a promotional film for the Catholic Church. Quoted biblical passages are more of an ethical nature and make it clear that Johannsen (Curd Jürgens) is an exceptional figure who also has to endure conflicts with his “superiors”. The crime film is set in the middle of Hamburg’s trendy St. Pauli district.

Summary

World War II: Submarine Captain Konrad Johannsen (Curd Jürgens) is in serious distress with his ship after an enemy attack. In his desperation he prays to God. He promises: if he should survive this mess, he will only consecrate his life to God and become a priest. More than two decades later, Father Johannsen has completed his transformation into a clergyman and quickly becomes a fixture on the neighbourhood, to whom the hearts of those stranded there in life quickly fly.

However, when he is drawn into a murder plot by the confession of a petty criminal, the hoodlums fake compromising recordings of the clergyman, who is then punitively transferred to a remote North Sea island. But the underworld as well as the church superiors have not reckoned with the intrepid determination of the former submarine captain…

Production history

Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli” (1970) is the third of five St. Pauli films with Curd Jürgens. The series consists of: “Der Arzt von St. Pauli” (1968), “Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins” (1969), “Das Stundenhotel von St. Pauli” (1970) and “Käpt’n Rauhbein aus St. Pauli” (1971). The film was shot in Hamburg, Kiel and Berlin in March and April 1970 and had its premiere in Berlin on 18 August 1970. The great actor Dieter Borsche made his last cinema appearance in this film. The Encyclopaedia of International Film writes: “Routinely made entertainment with elements of drama, comedy and gangster film”.

About director Rolf Olsen

Rolf Olsen was a multi-talented filmmaker. Born Rudolf Knoblich in Vienna on 26 December 1919, this all-rounder worked as a screenwriter, actor and director during his long and successful film career. For many films he always did this simultaneously. In this film, too, he wrote the script, directed and also acted in the role of the coroner. Rolf Olsen was a workaholic! He worked on about 100 films and television productions from 1947 to 1990. Olsen mastered all genres. Whether comedy, drama, crime or horror, Olsen could do it all. Rolf Olsen succumbed to cancer on 3.4.1998 in Starnberg.

Filmography (excerpt)

1963Der letzte Ritt nach Santa Cruz
1964Heiß weht der Wind
1966In Frankfurt sind die Nächte heiß
1968Der Arzt von St. Pauli
1969Auf der Reeperbahn nachts um halb eins
1970Das kann doch unser´n Willi nicht erschüttern
Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli
1977Reise ins Jenseits (Dokumentarfilm)
1988Starke Zeiten

Original title: Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli

Director: Rolf Olsen

Screenplay: Rolf Olsen

Actor & actresses: Curd Jürgens, Heinz Reincke, Barbara Lass, Werner Bruhns, Günther Stoll, Horst Naumann Walter Buschhoff, Carl Lange, Klaus Hagen Latwesen, Christian, Christine Diersch Jean-Pierre Bonnin, Dieter Wagner, Helga Feddersen, Wolfgang Condrus, Karl Schurr Dieter Borsche, Ilse Peternell, Georg Hartmann, Hans Hessling, Norbert Langer, Jürgen Lier, Rolf Olsen, Fritz Tillmann, Ingrid von Bothmer

Producer: Heinz Willeg

Cinematography: Franz Xaver Lederle

Editing: Renate Willeg

Costumes: Elisabeth Schewe

Music:  Erwin Halletz

 

Production companies: Terra-Filmkunst, Allianz Filmproduktion

Year of production: 1970

Genres: Crime, Drama

Country: Germany

Language: German

Synchronisations: Italian, German

Filming location: Hamburg

Length: 103 Min

Rating: FSK 16

Aspect ratio: 1.66 : 1

Sound mix: Mono

Resolution: Full HD (new scan)

More titels:

English: The Priest of St. Pauli

French: Monsieur le curé est mis au vert et voit rouge…, Un prêtre pas comme les autres

Italian: Io so chi ha ucciso

Greek (translatet): Amartoles gynaikes tou Saint Pauli

Turkish: Aşk Kaatili

Film label: U8 Films Berlin

Theatrical start: 18.08.1970

Mediabook (Blu-Ray+DVD): 07.10.2022

DVD & Blu-Ray: 30.09.2022

“Curd Jürgens is once again assisted by Heinz Reincke (“Wenn es Nacht wird auf der Reeperbahn”) as the sacristan Titus Kleinwiehe, who guarantees the comedic aspect of the film in his usual grandiose manner with his broad Hamburger Schnack and much wordplay and acts as a contrast to the grumpy, resolute Jürgens. Of course, “Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli” is not a promotional film for the Catholic Church. Quoted biblical passages are rather of an ethical nature and unproblematic; moreover, it is made clear that Johannsen (Jürgens) is an exceptional figure who also has to endure conflicts with his superiors. In this context, bigotry and bourgeois stuffiness are accused. Nevertheless, director and screenwriter Olsen obviously did not want to mess too much with the Catholic Church – de facto the world’s largest mafia organisation; it is this conciliation that deprives the film of a higher rating or scandalousness.” (ofdb review)

About Curd Jürgens

Curd Gustav Andreas Gottlieb Franz Jürgens was born on 13 December 1915 in Solln near Munich. He was a German theatre and film actor, with French roots on his mother’s side. He grew up in Berlin. Curd Jürgens worked as a journalist after leaving school and attended an acting school at the same time. In 1935 he presented himself at the UFA and was promptly engaged. During the Nazi era he appeared in 19 cinema films. Jürgens was apolitical in his youth. Nevertheless, he always expressed his opinion critically and without fear of the state power. In 1944, this attitude almost became his undoing because he got into a fight with a couple of SS men in a pub in Vienna without knowing their identity. They were the brother of Gestapo chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Robert Kaltenbrunner, SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny and an associate of Baldur von Schirach. Curd Jürgens was arrested and locked up in a labour camp, from where, however, he managed to escape after a short time and went into hiding.

After the end of the war, he became artistic director of the theatre in Straubing. Curd Jürgens then applied to the Burgtheater in Vienna and was accepted. In order to join a tour to Switzerland, he took Austrian citizenship, because Germans were not allowed to enter Switzerland from Austria. In the 60s and 70s he was a supporter of the German Chancellor Willy Brandt, whom he also knew well personally and met often. Curd Jürgens was married five times, among others to the well-known actress Eva Bartok. He was considered one of the most attractive men in Germany. Brigitte Bardot called him a “Norman cupboard”. The tabloid Bild voted him second among men “with the greatest sex appeal”. Curd Jürgens earned very well in his acting life. He afforded himself several residences – wherever it was beautiful, sunny and expensive. He once said that he could not do without luxury. His hobby of driving expensive luxury cars also proved this statement. Curd Jürgens was a bon vivant. He loved to eat, drink and smoke well and lavishly. The consequence of this lifestyle was several heart operations. In 1981 he played his last big role as a rich lawyer in the big Russian film production “Tehran 43“. Shortly after the end of filming, Curd Jürgens died of multiple organ failure in Vienna on 18 June 1982. He was unable to complete the German version of the film, in which he had been scheduled to do his own dubbing.

Filmography (excerpt)

1937Zu neuen Ufern
1954Meines Vaters Pferde
1955Des Teufels General
1956Und immer lockt das Weib
Der Kurier des Zaren
London ruft Nordpol
1957Duell im Atlantik
1958Jakubowsky und der Oberst
Die Herberge zur 6. Glückseligkeit
Schinderhannes
1959Katja, die ungekrönte Kaiserin
1960Schachnovelle
Gustav Adolfs Page
1962
Der längste Tag
1963
Die Flucht der weißen Hengste
1968
Der Arzt von St. Pauli
1969Luftschlacht um England
1977James Bond – Der Spion der mich liebte
1978Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo
1980Warum die UFOs unseren Salat klauen
1981Teheran 43

About Horst Naumann

Horst Naumann was born in Dresden on 17 November 1925. After training as an actor, he worked as a theatre actor at various German theatres from 1945 onwards. From 1953 to 1957 he was cast in various films by DEFA in East Berlin. In 1958 Horst Naumann came to the Federal Republic and worked mainly for television.

He became known to a wide audience through the television series “Die Schwarzwaldklinik” as Dr Römer and “Das Traumschiff” as Dr Schröder. But he was also present in TV series of the 60s, such as “Wolken über Kaprunc“, “Bei uns daheim” , “Zimmer 13” and “Graf Yoster gibt sich die Ehre“. His appearances in cinema films were mainly limited to light fare and children’s films. Another area of Horst Naumann’s work was and still is radio plays. He made a name for himself especially in radio play series. For example, in “TKKG“, “Die drei Fragezeichen“, “Barbiev“, “Masters of The Universe“, “Hanni und Nanni” and the 2019 radio play series “Gruselkabinett“.

Filmography (excerpt)

1954Leuchtfeuer
Das geheimnisvolle Wrack
1958U47, Kapitänleutnant Prien
1961
Der Transport
1968
Der Arzt von St. Pauli
1970
Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli

About Dieter Borsche

Dieter Albert Eugen Rollomann Borsche was born on 25 October 1909 in Hanover into a family of artists. His father was a musician and music teacher, his mother a singer. Dieter Borsche attended grammar school and left without graduating. He worked at the Städtische Oper in Hanover as a ballet dancer and attended an acting school. Afterwards he played at different German stages – mostly the role of a youthful lover. In 1944 he was drafted into the Wehrmacht and had to go to war. He fought on the Western Front, was wounded and became a US prisoner of war, from which he was released at the end of the war in 1945.

In 1946 Bernhard Minetti brought him to the theatre in Kiel. Dieter Borsche acted in theatre until 1978. However, Borsche already started his film career in the 1930s. The films that were made with him during the Nazi era were all of little importance. Only with the film “Nachtwache” in 1949 directed by Harald Braun he was able to make a name for himself. Dieter Borsche became an absolute darling of the public in the 1950s. He formed the dream couples loved by the audience with the top female stars of the time such as Maria Schell (“Es kommt ein Tag“, “Dr. Holl“), Ruth Leuwerik (“Vater braucht eine Frau“, “Königliche Hoheit“, “Königin Luise“), Inge Egger (“Sündige Grenze“, “Fanfaren der Liebe“) and Marianne Koch (“Wenn wir alle Engel wären“).

Dieter Borsche, however, felt too set in the role of the radiant lover. That’s why he mainly played villains in the 1960s and 70s. He took part in several Edgar Wallace adaptations. But he also appeared in major television thrillers. For example, in the television six-parter “Das Halstuch“, which became a street sweeper in 1962, or in the TV film “Gaslicht“, which received much attention in 1960. In the 1970s he had to take a break due to illness. Dieter Borsche suffered from osteoporosis. The disease had already been diagnosed in 1930, but now it forced him into a wheelchair. He now only worked for television. From the mid-1970s he only had a few short appearances in various television series, but major roles were no longer possible for him. He now worked a lot for radio and recorded radio plays. In 1970 he married the actress Ulla Willick, with whom he lived in Nuremberg until his death on 5 August 1982.

Filmography (excerpt)

1935Alles weg´n dem Hund
1949Nachtwache
1950Es kommt ein Tag
1951Sündige Grenze
Dr. Holl
1953Königliche Hoheit
1954Zwischenlandung in Paris
1957Königin Luise
1958Zeit zu leben, Zeit zu sterben
1958
U47, Kapitänleutnant Prien
1961Die toten Augen von London
1962Das Feuerschiff
1963
 
Der schwarze Abt
Der Henker von London
1964
Der Schut
1965
Durchs wilde Kurdistan
1968
 
Der Arzt von St. Pauli
Der Reformator

About Barbara Lass

Barbara Kwiatkowska, her real name, was born on 1 June 1940 in Patrowo, Poland. At the age of 17 she took part in an audition and was chosen from over 1,000 girls for a film role. She was given the leading role in the Polish crime film “Eva wants to sleep” in 1958.

She appeared in a number of films in Poland, Germany and especially in France. Her greatest role was in the 1961 film comedy “Hold the Bomb, Darling” alongside Alain Delon.

Barbara Lass was successively married to the director Roman Polanski, the German actor Karl-Heinz Böhm and the jazz musician Leszet Zadlo. She is the mother of the German actress Katharina Böhm (known from the ZDF series “Die Chefin“). Barbara Lass spent several years in the Polish underground and supported the trade union movement Solidarnosc. Barbara Lass died of a brain haemorrhage in Baldham (Bavaria) on 6 March 1995.

Filmography (excerpt)

1958Eva will schlafen
1961Halt mal die Bombe, Liebling
1962Liebe mit zwanzig
1965Serenade für zwei Spione
1970Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli
1974Fontane Effi Briest
1981Stachel im Fleisch
1986Rosa Luxemburg

Posting pictures

For the theatrical release in 1970, Constantin, the distributor at the time, printed many poster pictures that were displayed in the showcases of the cinemas in front of the entrance nationwide. On these you could read scenes from the film as well as advertising messages. Below are a few of these motifs and texts (to enlarge, simply click on the desired image):

Material processing 

Walter Potganski was able to realise the “elaborate digitisation” together with Cristos Pateludis, an expert in film restoration who himself developed some tools for the respective processing stages. Together with Reno Bornkamm, he is the owner of the company Pateludis Video Transfer and was responsible for the 4K scan, light determination and colour correction, among other things.

Usually, these steps are done in the presence of the cinematographer and the director, which of course was no longer possible in this case. The experience in the technical field of film restoration goes back over 40 years and so in this case Walter Potganski and Cristos Pateludis were now themselves responsible for what is called the “film look”.

Der Pfarrer von S. Pauli | Trailer [2022] (German) ᴴᴰ

Comments & Feedback

“Colourful 70s trash with harmless neighbourhood eroticism” (Cinema.de).

“Routinely made entertainment with elements of drama, comedy and gangster film”. (Dictionary of International Film)

“The bottom line (oops, how ambiguous…) is that Der Pfarrer von St. Pauli is an intelligently made entertainment film that manages the balancing act between a superficially pro-clerical initial situation and a progressive mindset wonderfully.” (ofdb review)

“A very unholy “saint”: Curd Jürgens shines as a thuggish priest.” (fernsehserien.de)

Available formats and finishes

Limited Mediabook (Blu-Ray + DVD):

Theatrical version rescanned in 4K for the first time and restored in Full HD.

Blu-Ray picture format: WS 1.66:1 / 1080p 24; DVD picture format: WS 1.66:1 (anamorphic) | Total running time Blu-Ray: 103 min (German theatrical version); Total running time DVD: 99 min

Sound format Blu-Ray: German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (mono); Sound format DVD: German DD 2.0 (mono)

Bonus material: German trailer, artwork gallery, media book with 20-page book section with lots of pictures and information, including exclusive miniature reprint of the 1970 film programme, trailers for “Der Arzt von St. Pauli” and “Käpt’n Raubein aus St. Pauli”; Video clip: “Everywhere in the world is beautiful”.

Rating: FSK 16 | FSK sticker removable

Blu-Ray:

Theatrical version rescanned in 4K for the first time and restored in Full HD.

Aspect ratio: WS 1.66:1 / 1080p 24 | Total running time: 103 Min

Sound format : German DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (mono)

Bonus material: German trailer, artwork gallery, media book with 20-page book section with lots of pictures and information, including exclusive miniature reprint of the 1970 film programme, trailers for “Der Arzt von St. Pauli” and “Käpt’n Raubein aus St. Pauli”; Video clip: “Everywhere in the world is beautiful”.

Rating: FSK 16

DVD:

Theatrical version rescanned in 4K for the first time and restored in Full HD.

Picture format: WS 1.66:1 (anamorphic) | Total running time: 99 min.

Sound format: German DD 2.0 (mono)

Bonus material: German trailer, artwork gallery, media book with 20-page book section with lots of pictures and information, including exclusive miniature reprint of the 1970 film programme, trailers for “Der Arzt von St. Pauli” and “Käpt’n Raubein aus St. Pauli”; Video clip: “Everywhere in the world is beautiful”.

Rating: FSK 16

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