It Happened in Broad Daylight

Es geschah am hellichten Tag (English: It Happened in Broad Daylight) is a 1958 Swiss-German-Spanish thriller film directed by Ladislao Vajda. The original screenplay was written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, a Swiss playwright and novelist, and the first incarnation of the film is still acclaimed by critics. Heinz Rühmann and Gert Fröbe both starred in the 1958 movie.[1]

Es geschah am hellichten Tag - El cebo
Directed byLadislao Vajda
Produced byLazar Wechsler
Artur Brauner (co-producer)
Written byFriedrich Dürrenmatt
Hans Jacoby
Ladislao Vajda
StarringHeinz Rühmann
Siegfried Lowitz
Michel Simon
Gert Fröbe
Music byBruno Canfora
CinematographyErnst Bolliger
Heinrich Gärtner
Praesens Film GmbH
Chamartín Producciones
Distributed byDeutsche Film Hansa
Release date
  • 1958 (1958)
Running time
95 minutes
West Germany


The three films follow the same basic plot, where a senior police detective is detached to investigate the murder of a little girl. As the detective hopes for leads while talking with the mother of the murdered girl, he pledges to find her killer – and so, even after leaving the police force, he embarks upon buying a gasoline shop in the remote area where he hopes to find the criminal, and uses a little girl as bait to attract the killer.



Cinematography took place from 22 February to April 1958 near Zürich and Chur. Interiors were shot at Praesens Atelier and the Spandau Studios in Berlin.[2]


The film premiered on 4 July 1958 at the IFF/Berlin. It went on general release on 9 July 1958. In Switzerland it premiered on 12 July 1958 (Rex, Zürich).[2]

Awards,Remakes & Adaptations



Remakes & Adaptations

    In 1979,an Italian remake,directed by Alberto Negrin, under the title La promessa was released.
     In 1995,a Dutch remake,directed by Rudolf Van Den Berg, under the title The Cold Light of Day was released.
     In 1997,a German tv film remake,directed by Nico Hofmann,under the original title Es geschah am hellichten Tag was released.
     In 2001,an English remake,directed by Sean Penn,under the title The Pledgewas released.
     In 2018,a Tamil partial adaptation,directed by Ram kumar,under the title Ratsasan was released.
     In 2019,a Telugu remake of the above mentioned movie Ratsasan,directed by Ramesh Varma,under the title Rakshasudu was released.

Alternative versions

Friedrich Dürrenmatt was not happy to see the detective proven successful at the end the story, so he wrote the novel Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman (The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel) from the existing film script. Das Versprechen differs from Es geschah am hellichten Tag by having the detective fail to identify the killer in the end because of the murderer's death in an auto accident. This failure ultimately leaves the detective a broken and witless old man.

American director Sean Penn made a fifth movie on the same theme, named The Pledge in 2001, starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Mirren. Penn's movie incorporates Das Versprechen's darker ending, as preferred by Dürrenmatt.


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