Story, based on real-life events, was first filmed by Rolf Thiele in 1958 (released in the U.S. as “Rosemary”), with Nadja Tiller as the Frankfurt femme whose love of fast cars and money led her to bed the great and the good before being murdered in 1957 in her apartment by a never-found assailant. Thiele’s hit B&W movie, made when the real subject’s body was still almost warm, had a socially satirical edge that Eichinger’s more up-and-down version omits.
Rosemarie (Nina Hoss) is introduced in 1952 as a tough young woman who gets out of a remand center by bedding a warden. Two years later, she argues with her foster parents, ups and leaves, and on the way to Frankfurt meets charming petty criminal Nadler (German star Til Schweiger, in a low-key role), with whom she shacks up. Another two years later, the story proper begins, with her working as a bar girl in a cut-rate club, where she hooks wealthy businessman Hartog (Heiner Lauterbach).
After Rosemarie ditches Nadler, Hartog sets her up in an apartment, but she soon gets antsy when he confesses to having a fiancee (Katja Flint) and doesn’t always take her to big social occasions. Then a French magnate, Fribert (Mathieu Carriere), makes her an offer: He’ll give her everything she desires so long as she tape-records all her sack sessions with German higher-ups. The arrangement sows the seeds of her demise.
As the rise and fall of a glorified hooker, the tale is interesting enough, and Hoss, whose looks are not standard cheesecake, makes Rosemarie a cool, brittle character who becomes more engaging as her weaknesses gradually emerge: She’s tolerated but never accepted by Frankfurt’s high society. The film could have used more social backgrounding; Rosemarie’s story was a direct product of Germany’s mid-’50s economic recovery, and there’s no real feel here for the broader atmosphere of the times, with the action (in true telefilm style) mostly limited to interiors and small gatherings.
Occasionally, as in the resonant title sequence showing Hoss alone in a park, and the final society party, Eichinger inserts some stylistic flourishes, lifting the drama to a metaphysical realm that gets inside the character. For most of the time, however, it’s down to the art direction and costume design to keep the eyes occupied while the plot unfolds in due order.
Technical credits are thoroughly pro, and d.p. Gernot Roll’s eye for colors is sharp. Pic, broadcast in December, is one of commercial web SAT-1’s series of four remakes of German film classics.