The Man Inside (1990)

PG | 93 mins | Drama | 8 June 1990

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HISTORY

The film begins with a title card that reads: “The following is based on actual events in the life of German undercover journalist Gunter Wallraff and his infiltration of the most powerful newspaper in Western Europe.” Another title card reads: “Northern Portugal, Six Months Ago,” followed by title cards introducing a montage of prologue events: “Dusseldorf: The Meeting With Borges”; “Bonn: Shultz Is Implicated”; “Hannover: The Daily Standard”; “Cologne”; “Criminal Journalist Wallraff: ‘Any Means Are Justified’”; “Hermes Brauner: Founder and Publisher, The Daily Standard”; and “Dr. Heinz-Herbert Shultz: Chief of Security.” The following written epilogue appears at the end of the film: "Lead Story, Wallraff's expose of The Daily Standard, has become a best seller in Germany and throughout Western Europe. The Standard's readership dropped off 17% after the book’s release, and the paper has been plagued by student demonstrations and lawsuits from its victims. However, nine million Germans still read it daily. In a subsequent ruling, the court prohibited Wallraff from mentioning any link between The Standard and German State Security. The German League of Industrialists implemented a security program at all its major facilities to guard against future infiltration. Gunter Wallraff is currently working on a new project...somewhere in Germany.”
       Actor Harry Sanders is alternately listed in end credits as Harry G. Sanders. The Saxony capital city of Hanover is spelled “Hannover” on a title card and “Hanover” on a railway sign in the film. Both spellings are correct. The Daily Standard is referred to throughout the film as The Standard.
       During preproduction, the film was titled The Man Within, the 19 Apr ... More Less

The film begins with a title card that reads: “The following is based on actual events in the life of German undercover journalist Gunter Wallraff and his infiltration of the most powerful newspaper in Western Europe.” Another title card reads: “Northern Portugal, Six Months Ago,” followed by title cards introducing a montage of prologue events: “Dusseldorf: The Meeting With Borges”; “Bonn: Shultz Is Implicated”; “Hannover: The Daily Standard”; “Cologne”; “Criminal Journalist Wallraff: ‘Any Means Are Justified’”; “Hermes Brauner: Founder and Publisher, The Daily Standard”; and “Dr. Heinz-Herbert Shultz: Chief of Security.” The following written epilogue appears at the end of the film: "Lead Story, Wallraff's expose of The Daily Standard, has become a best seller in Germany and throughout Western Europe. The Standard's readership dropped off 17% after the book’s release, and the paper has been plagued by student demonstrations and lawsuits from its victims. However, nine million Germans still read it daily. In a subsequent ruling, the court prohibited Wallraff from mentioning any link between The Standard and German State Security. The German League of Industrialists implemented a security program at all its major facilities to guard against future infiltration. Gunter Wallraff is currently working on a new project...somewhere in Germany.”
       Actor Harry Sanders is alternately listed in end credits as Harry G. Sanders. The Saxony capital city of Hanover is spelled “Hannover” on a title card and “Hanover” on a railway sign in the film. Both spellings are correct. The Daily Standard is referred to throughout the film as The Standard.
       During preproduction, the film was titled The Man Within, the 19 Apr 1989 Var reported.
       Principal photography began 29 May 1989, the 5 Jul 1989 Var noted. According to studio notes in AMPAS library files, the production began a seventeen-day shooting schedule in Cologne, Germany, that included filming in and around Gunter Wallraff’s real-life home. Interiors were later shot in Paris, France, for five and a half weeks. The film crew was comprised of twenty-five French, seventeen Germans, and three Americans. The cast was likewise international.
       In their reviews of The Man Inside, the 22 Oct 1990 HR and 30 Oct 1990 Village Voice explained that unscrupulous publisher “Hermes Brauner” was in fact Axel Springer, and "The Standard ” was Germany’s highest-circulation tabloid, Bild-Zeitung, which translates as Picture Newspaper. Although reporter Gunter Wallraff was portrayed under his own name, his undercover pseudonym at the newspaper was changed from “Hans Esser” to “Franz Messer.” The Village Voice complained that because of the “hash of actual and fictionalized names, places, and details…nothing at all rings true.” The characters are German, but because of the international cast, they speak American-, French-, Dutch-, and German-accented English. However, all visible copies of The Standard are typeset in German.
       The 8 Jun 1990 Seattle Times reported that the $3.8-million film premiered that night as “one of the closing events” at the 16th Seattle International Film Festival.
       The Man Inside “did poorly” in limited release on six screens in Los Angeles, CA, New York City, Seattle, WA, and Chicago, IL, according to the 30 Oct 1990 DV, and “bombed out” during its second week, the 12 Nov 1990 Var noted.
       End credits contain the following acknowledgments: “Special thanks: Rene Bonnell; Patrick Bastin, the Crew of C.L.B.N.; Leslie Z. Tobin; Sara Risher; Barbara Munsch; Ted Field. Thanks: Jane Abrams; Barbara Alexander; Michael Ballhaus; ‘Rev’ David Boruff; Steve Breimer; Patricia Clifford; Peter Dekom; Roy Doumani; Patrice Dutru; Tchecky Karyo; Hermes Mueller; Dr. Reinhold Nevin Du Mont; Dorlies Pullman; Peter Sailer; David Schickele; Bertrand Taverner. The producers also wish to acknowledge the contributions of Agatha; Autour du Mande; CICAM; Marie-Clare Dosseur; Ecole Esiee; France Andrelux; Galerie Polaris; Gestetner; Hopital de Ville Evrard; Island; Laborataire Raspail; Lissoc; Seika, C.G.H.; Societe AAB Agencement—Amenagement de Bureaux; Societe Eurasit—Sieges de Bureaux; Societe Gastinne Renette; Societe Techniland; Societe Vianne; Velux France. With the participation of the Minister Fur Wirtschaft, Mittlestand und Technologie Nordrhein Westfalen." Finally, end credits state, "The film is dedicated to Gunter Wallraff, the man and his work.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Boston Globe
2 Nov 1990
p. 74
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1990
p. 1
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 1990
p. 5, 17
Los Angeles Times
26 Oct 1990
Calendar, p. 8
New York Times
26 Oct 1990
p. 14
Newsday (Long Island, NY)
26 Oct 1990
p. 13
Seattle Times
8 Jun 1990
p. 24
Variety
19 Apr 1989
p. 32
Variety
24 May 1989
p. 24
Variety
5 Jul 1989.
---
Variety
13 Jun 1990
p. 26
Variety
12 Nov 1990
p. 3
Village Voice
30 Oct 1990
p. 70
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Philippe Diaz Production
For Compagnie de Production Internationale (Paris), Franco American Film Productions (L.A.)
In Association with Canal + Productions, New Line Cinema, Virgin Vision
Of a Bobby Roth Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
Trainee dir
2d asst dir, Germany
2d 2d asst dir, Germany
PRODUCERS
Line prod for Germany
Line prod for Germany
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Steadicam op
Still photog
Gaffer
Generator op
Key grip
Addl cam asst
3rd asst cam, Germany
Lighting crew, Germany
Grip, Germany
Grip, Germany
Film
Cam equip
Lighting equip
Grip equip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
1st asst art dir
2d asst art dir
Art dept asst
Layout artist
Layout artist
Art dept asst, Germany
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Apprentice ed/U.S.A.
Asst ed/France
Apprentice ed/France
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop buyer
Set dec
Set prop master
Swing gang
Swing gang
Const key grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const grip
Const coord
Const foreman
Carpenter
Carpenter
Carpenter
Key painter
Sign painter
Asst sign painter
Asst prop, Germany
Set dresser, Germany
Set const, Germany
Set const, Germany
COSTUMES
Costumer
Costumer, Germany
MUSIC
Mus comp and performed by
Mus consultant
Addl mus
Editions musicales
Editions musicales
SOUND
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
ADR ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd processing
VISUAL EFFECTS
Asst spec eff
Opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hair stylist
Asst makeup/Hair
Makeup asst, Germany
PRODUCTION MISC
In charge of prod
Asst by [Prod]
Tech consultant
Casting
Prod consultant
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Dial coach
Extra casting
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Asst to Catherine Huhardeaux
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
CPI prod staff/Paris
CPI prod staff/Paris
CPI prod staff/Paris
CPI prod staff/Paris
CPI prod staff/Paris
CPI prod staff/Paris
Photo agency
Loc mgr, Germany
Loc mgr, Germany
Asst loc mgr, Germany
Prod secy, Germany
Casting, Germany
Extra casting, Germany
Prod asst office, Germany
Prod asst, Germany
Prod asst, Germany
Prod asst, Germany
Prod asst, Germany
Prod asst, Germany
Prod asst, Germany
Prod asst, Germany
Prod asst, Germany
Loc scout, Germany
Law office
Law office
Law office
Insurance company
Insurance company
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts, Germany
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Laboratory
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on Gunter Wallraff's Der Aufmacher ( Lead Story ) (1977)
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Man Within
Release Date:
8 June 1990
Premiere Information:
Seattle Film Festival premiere: 8 June 1990
Los Angeles opening: 26 October 1990
New York opening: 26 October 1990
Production Date:
began 29 May 1989
Copyright Claimant:
Franco-American Film Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 March 1990
Copyright Number:
PAu1359034
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Duration(in mins):
93
MPAA Rating:
PG
Countries:
France, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In preparation for a coup d’etat, Portugese General Borges conspires with German State Security Chief Heinz Herbert Schultz, whose entourage of shady arms dealers includes Gunter Wallraff, an undercover journalist and master of disguises. When Wallraff exposes the illegal plot in a book, the German parliament launches an investigation that damages Schultz’s reputation. State Security begins surveillance of Wallraff, his estranged wife, Tina, and his young daughters. In Hanover, Germany, Senior Editor Leonard Schroeter of the nation’s most popular tabloid newspaper, The Standard, declares that any attack on Heinz Schultz is an attack on The Standard. Schroeter orders his top staff writer, Henry Tobel, to write stories linking Wallraff to the Baader-Meinhoff Group, a German terrorist organization. In Cologne, Germany, Gunter Wallraff is so outraged at seeing the headline “Criminal Journalist Wallraff,” he decides to infiltrate The Standard. He researches Hermes Brauner, the paper’s right-wing millionaire owner, and his connection to State Security. After receiving a death threat under his door, Wallraff reunites with Christine, his former mistress and “secretary” in the Borges-Schultz sting, and asks her to go underground again. He meets with Rolf Gruel, a conscience-stricken former Standard writer who volunteers to introduce Wallraff to the right people if he can change his appearance. After evading State Security agents spying on his apartment, Gunter Wallraff and Christine leave Cologne and meet ... +


In preparation for a coup d’etat, Portugese General Borges conspires with German State Security Chief Heinz Herbert Schultz, whose entourage of shady arms dealers includes Gunter Wallraff, an undercover journalist and master of disguises. When Wallraff exposes the illegal plot in a book, the German parliament launches an investigation that damages Schultz’s reputation. State Security begins surveillance of Wallraff, his estranged wife, Tina, and his young daughters. In Hanover, Germany, Senior Editor Leonard Schroeter of the nation’s most popular tabloid newspaper, The Standard, declares that any attack on Heinz Schultz is an attack on The Standard. Schroeter orders his top staff writer, Henry Tobel, to write stories linking Wallraff to the Baader-Meinhoff Group, a German terrorist organization. In Cologne, Germany, Gunter Wallraff is so outraged at seeing the headline “Criminal Journalist Wallraff,” he decides to infiltrate The Standard. He researches Hermes Brauner, the paper’s right-wing millionaire owner, and his connection to State Security. After receiving a death threat under his door, Wallraff reunites with Christine, his former mistress and “secretary” in the Borges-Schultz sting, and asks her to go underground again. He meets with Rolf Gruel, a conscience-stricken former Standard writer who volunteers to introduce Wallraff to the right people if he can change his appearance. After evading State Security agents spying on his apartment, Gunter Wallraff and Christine leave Cologne and meet with Franz Messer, a sympathizer willing to turn over his identity papers to give the writer a back story. The blue-eyed Wallraff gives himself a makeover by wearing brown contact lenses instead of his trademark glasses, and dying and restyling his hair. As a test, he visits his wife, Tina, who at first fails to recognize him. Wallraff and Christine move to a Hanover apartment, where Rolf Gruel grooms him to impress Leonard Schroeter, then leads him through the job interview. When Wallraff presents himself as a nationalist-leaning writer with a background in advertising and psychology, a delighted Schroeter hires him on the spot. In Cologne, State Security agents raid Tina Wallraff's apartment looking for her husband. They know Gunter Wallraff was with his daughters the previous weekend, but Tina claims she has not seen him lately. The next day, posing as “Franz Messer,” Wallraff arrives at work and is given a desk adjoining writers Henry Tobel, Mueller, and Kathy Heller. Schroeter sends Wallraff out with Tobel to learn how The Standard puts a story together. They stage a narrative, complete with photographs of a truck driver who takes over his boss’s company for one day, in accordance with an informal agreement the two men made years earlier, when they were equals. It’s a harmless human interest story about old friends, but as Tobel explains to Wallraff, Standard stories are about the division of rich and poor, the powerful and weak, so the writer’s job is to stoke the prejudices and fantasies of their working-class, right-leaning readers. For example, a popular recent story concerned Sarah, a woman who in real life fled her abusive husband and was taken in by a kindly Turkish coworker. The Standard invented quotes and twisted the story by denigrating Sarah for abandoning her loving husband and children for a Turkish immigrant. In the story Tobel is now writing, the truck driver returns to his old job not because of a deal between friends, but because, as boss, he was fed up with having to deal with a corrupt labor union and greedy workers who want pay raises. In other words, working-class people should be satisfied with their lot and not envy the unfortunate rich, whose problems are greater. The next day, Wallraff accompanies Kathy Heller on a follow-up meeting with Sarah, who is outraged by how The Standard turned her into a “whore.” When she pushes Heller, a photographer snaps a picture for the next day’s front page. Schroeter tells his reporters he wants a story linking an anti-nuclear peace organization with Baader-Meinhof. Henry Tobel explains to Wallraff that Schroeter doles out the line lengths of their stories, and hence their salaries, by how much they anger readers. Sent on a story about a young, attractive martial arts enthusiast named Judie Brandt, Wallraff writes a straight article and takes it to Rolf Gruel for appraisal. Gruel tells him the story is no good. To demonstrate The Standard style, Gruel telephones Judie, asks if she was ever raped, whether she likes men, and what she would do if attacked in a park. Gruel also arranges for a new photograph session with Judie. Schroeter likes the story because its anti-feminine tone suggests that women should support men and not destroy them. He rants about lesbianism, and browbeats Mueller, a shy reporter, into having his picture taken for a provocative front-page article about what young women want, even though his fiancée’s family will disapprove. At night, Wallraff awakens and analyzes The Standard for Christine. The various editions, whether in Hanover, Cologne, or Hamburg, have the same stories about lazy workers. The next morning, Judie Brandt storms into the office, smacks Wallraff with a folded newspaper, and screams about how she was portrayed in the article. Leonard Schroeter is delighted. That night, Wallraff awakens in a sweat. With Tobel’s help, Wallraff quickly becomes Schroeter’s “second favorite” Standard writer. After work, Wallraff and Tobel have a few drinks and end up playing chess at Tobel’s apartment. Tobel drunkenly strokes Wallraff’s hand and gets no response, then asks him to leave. At home, Wallraff informs Christine that, according to Tobel, Schroeter gets editorial directives directly from Hermes Brauner. Christine asks him to test Schroeter by turning in a decent story. Wallraff dreams of being exposed as a spy and chased by Schroeter and the staff out of the newspaper building. The next day, he turns in a “straight” story about worker accidents, but Schroeter tears it up, demanding to know why he failed to denounce worker carelessness and drinking. Meanwhile, in Cologne, masked men set Wallraff’s empty apartment on fire. Tina goes to Hanover and asks her husband to come home before there is violence against his family, but he claims to be too close to uncovering the real story. When Tobel writes a story that characterizes leftist student leader Rudolph “Rudy” Schick as a terrorist, an angry reader shoots Schick dead. Sarah, the woman who supposedly ran off with the Turk, commits suicide when her factory boss fires her because of bad publicity. Wallraff cries when Christine picks him up after work, but he cannot stop now because no one else will ever get inside The Standard to tell the truth. The next day, Schroeter praises Wallraff’s work and wants more stories about men who make their fortunes starting from nothing and working hard. Christine visits Evans, Wallraff’s book publisher, and laments that she cannot stay undercover much longer because she has her own writing career to look after. As she leaves the publishing office, a man recognizes and follows her. Later, State Security alerts Schroeter that Gunther Wallraff is working somewhere inside The Standard, and Schroeter orders Henry Tobel and Wallraff to find him. When Wallraff leaves the building that evening, an arriving State Security agent asks Schroeter who the reporter is and when he started at the paper? Schroeter realizes the truth and calls security, but Wallraff and Christine have already left. Mueller telephones Wallraff at home, warning that State Security is coming for him. Seeing men outside, he and Christine escape from a balcony and drive away. On the front page, The Standard excoriates Wallraff as a Communist and a fascist who uses criminal methods. Gunter Wallraff’s book is published, but over the next six months, Hermes Brauner uses injunctions to drag the publisher into court in an effort to censor the book’s content. One night, a drunken and remorseful Henry Tobel shows up at Wallraff and Christine’s door and turns over a dossier The Standard kept on Wallraff. Later that night, as Tobel leaves a nightclub, thugs beat him to death. Wallraff continues having nightmares about State Security agents coming after him. When prosecuted on espionage charges, Wallraff testifies before a group of judges. He claims that The Standard manufactures news to promote Brauner’s fascist worldview, and offers the dossier on him as evidence of the newspaper’s surveillance, mail tampering, violations of privacy, and intimidation. The court rules that Wallraff is innocent of espionage and free to tell the truth about The Standard. Gunter Wallraff and Christine split up, and he goes underground as a dark-skinned Turkish factory worker. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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