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Steppenwolf is a 1974 film adaptation of Hermann Hesse's 1927 novel of the same name. The film made heavy use of visual special effects that were cutting-edge at the time of its release. It follows the adventures of a half-man, half-animal individual named Harry Haller, who in the Germany of the 1920s, is depressed, resentful of his middle class station, and wants to die not knowing the world around him. He then meets two strange people who introduce him to life and a bizarre world called the Magic Theater.
|Directed by||Fred Haines|
Novel by Hermann Hesse
Max von Sydow|
|Music by||George Gruntz|
The film took seven years of complicated pre-production for its producers Melvin Abner Fishman and Richard Herland. Fishman, a student of Jung and alchemy, wanted the film to be "the first Jungian film" and built up relationships with the Hesse family that allowed the film rights of the book to be released. Herland raised the finance.
Although Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon and Timothy Leary were all proposed as playing the main role of Harry Haller, the role eventually went to Max von Sydow. In the other principal parts, Pierre Clementi played Pablo, Dominique Sanda took the role of Hermine and Carla Romanelli was Maria. Although the film is in English, none of the principal actors were native English speakers.
Finally, the rights to the finished film were entirely given over to Peter Sprague, its financier. A "marketing disaster" followed, which included the colour of the prints coming out incorrectly. For decades the film remained little seen except for brief runs in art film houses.