The Transformation of Dr. Bessel

The Transformation of Dr. Bessel (German: Dr. Bessels Verwandlung ) is a 1927 German silent film directed by Richard Oswald and starring Jakob Tiedtke, Sophie Pagay and Hans Stüwe.[1] The film was based on a novel by Ludwig Wolff [de]. It premiered at the Ufa-Palast am Zoo. It has thematic similarities with Ernst Lubitsch's 1932 film The Man I Killed. Whereas that film featured a French soldier partially assuming the identity of a dead German, in Oswald's film a German is able to survive by pretending to be French.[2]

The Transformation of Dr. Bessel
The Transformation of Dr. Bessel.jpg
Directed byRichard Oswald
Written byHerbert Juttke
Georg C. Klaren
Based onDoktor Bessels Verwandlung by Ludwig Wolff [de]
Produced byRichard Oswald
StarringJakob Tiedtke
Sophie Pagay
Hans Stüwe
Agnes Esterhazy
CinematographyAxel Graatkjær
Release date
8 December 1927
Running time
70 minutes
German intertitles

The film's sets were designed by the art director Franz Seemann and Bruno Lutz.


During the First World War, a German soldier escapes capture on the battlefield by taking the uniform of a French soldier. He then marries and settles down in Marseilles, abandoning any sense of national identity. Due to his language skills he is able to become a major success in international commerce.



  1. ^ Rogowski p.265
  2. ^ Continuity and Crisis in German Cinema p.301


  • Hales, Barbara, Petrescu, Mihaela & Weinstein, Valerie. Continuity and Crisis in German Cinema, 1928-1936. Camden House, 2016.
  • Rogowski, Christian. The Many Faces of Weimar Cinema: Rediscovering Germany's Filmic Legacy. Camden House, 2010.

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