It’s not often that Fassbinder actors adopt disguises for their roles – part of the underlying ethos that in Fassbinder films, the participants are playing themselves.  I don't know what it is, and whether it's a certain nudity of spirit that Fassbinder sought after, but usually in his films, everyone is pretty much themselves, with some great exceptions such as Margit Carstensen in Satan's Brew. Karl Scheydt in Effi Briest is however in fig.


But actors must be allowed to dress up, and here, Karl Scheydt does exactly that as Instetten’s servant Kruse. Kruse is the cap-doffing type, although subtly we are shown that he is also the gentleman’s thug – as he tends to the horses – it’s what he does – he is appointed unofficial chaperone of the chaperone, cramping Crampas’ style, you might say.

The servants all talk about the ghosts, in particular the ghost of a Chinese man reputed to haunt the area, but Kruse will have none of it. He finds the thing preposterous, as he finds his wife’s love of the black chicken with which she appears, preposterous – it doesn’t even lay eggs! he says – and the reason for this is that like the ghost, it never goes out.