It’s odd to think of a person as statuesque and handsome as Isolde Barthe being wed to someone as slight and cringeing as Hark Bohm, but life is full of these ironies. Isolde Barth plays the mayor’s wife with the same condescending black stares as the other middle class wives in the film, almost appearing to be in mourning gear, and eyeing her husband as if she is having a bad time indeed, and not getting anything out of the experience.


These must have been fun parts to play – being part of the nasty entourage that runs the town, operating basically on a capitalist code of ‘get what you can’ – and I find the women, who oddly for Fassbinder don’t have much dialogue in these scenes, do very well with haughty stares and terrifying stillness. This is the nature of supporting cast! When the town’s meanies are reflecting on what they are going to do with the busybody Von Bohm, she is actually the stillest of them all, and the most beautiful. She looks a little Audrey Hepburn, irascible, a panther waiting to pounce.