Der Herrscher

Der Herrscher (English: The Master, The Sovereign, or The Ruler) is a 1937 German drama film directed by Veit Harlan.[1] It was adapted from the play of the same name by Gerhart Hauptmann. Erwin Leiser calls it a propagandistic demonstration of the Führerprinzip of Nazi Germany.[2]


Matthias Clausen (Emil Jannings) is the head of Clausen Works, an old and prosperous munitions firm. He falls in love with a secretary in the office (Marianne Hoppe), and his children conspire against him in order to protect their inheritance. Clausen disowns them and bestows the firm on the state, confident that one of his workers capable of carrying on his work will arise.


The movie was based on the play Before Sunset by Nobel Prize recipient Gerhart Hauptmann, but the themes have been utterly altered.[2] A mild-mannered art collector in the play, he becomes the dynamic "first worker" of the movies, who proclaims the firm's duty to provide work and serve the community, and unlike the play, triumphs over his children's machinations.[2]


Some newspapers objected to the anti-capitalist bent inherent in having a man leave his company to the state; the official release contained a postscript by Goebbels repudiating such intentions.[3]


  1. "New York Times: Der Herrscher (1937)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  2. Leiser, Erwin (1975). Nazi Cinema. Macmillan. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-02-570230-1.
  3. Grunberger, Richard (1971). The 12-Year Reich: A Social History of Nazi Germany 1933–1945. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p. 385. ISBN 978-0-03-076435-6.
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