31 July 2017

Kai Fischer

Red-haired and spirited German actress Kai Fischer (1934) has appeared in 54 films between 1955 and 2004. She was the naughty bad girl of the Wirtschaftwunder cinema, and also appeared in sexy roles in international productions, either as a prostitute or a gangster girl. Later she worked with famous directors as Wim Wenders, Rosa von Praunheim and Ingmar Bergman.

Kai Fischer
German postcard by Ufa, Berlin-Tempelhhof, no. FK 4095. Photo: Ufa.

Kai Fischer
Austrian postcard by Kellner-Fotokarten, Wien, no. 287.

Either a gangster bride, a criminal bar girl or a prostitute

Kai Anne Inge Fischer was born in Halle, Germany (according to the German version of Wikipedia while the English version and IMDb mention Prague, Czechoslovakia, as her birthplace) in 1934. Fischer's family was forced to move to Munich in 1945.

In the 1950s the young Kai Fischer (also credited as Kay Fischer) appeared in the cabaret Schwabinger Brettl without a stage training and also worked as a photo model and mannequin.

In 1955, she entered the cinema. She initially played supporting roles in such films as the German-Austrian comedy Oh diese lieben Verwandten/Oh these dear relatives (Joe Stöckel, 1955) and Unternehmen Schlafsack/Operation Sleeping Bag (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1955).

She had her first major role in the drama Die Ehe des Dr. med. Danwitz/The Marriage of Doctor Danwitz (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1956), starring Marianne Koch and Karlheinz Böhm.

Very popular was the musical comedy Das Wirtshaus im Spessart/The Spessart Inn (Kurt Hoffmann, 1958), starring Liselotte Pulver and Carlos Thompson.

In Italy, Fischer appeared in La ragazza della salina/Sand, Love and Salt (Frantisek Cáp, 1957) with Marcello Mastroianni, and in the comedy Tempi duri per i vampiri/Hard Times for Dracula (Steno, 1959) with Renato Rascel and Christopher Lee.

Until the mid-1960s, Fischer often played sexy, bad girls in films. She was either a gangster bride, a criminal bar girl or a prostitute in such films as Für zwei Groschen Zärtlichkeit/Call Girls (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1957), the French drama Filles de nuit/Girls of the Night (Maurice Cloche, 1958) with Georges Marchal, Mädchen für die Mambo-Bar/$100 a Night (Wolfgang Glück, 1959) and the Edgar Wallace Krimi Zimmer 13/Room 13 (Harald Reinl, 1964), starring Joachim Fuchsberger.

Kai Fischer in Ich war ihm hörig (1958)
Austrian postcard by Kellner-Fotokarten, Wien, no. 1394. Photo: Deutsche Cosmopol-film / Brünjes. Publicity still for Ich war ihm hörig/I Was All His (Wolfgang Becker, 1958).

Kai Fischer
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 1108, 1959. Photo: publicity still for Das Wirtshaus im Spessart/The Spessart Inn (Kurt Hoffmann, 1958).

Kai Fischer and Paul Klinger in Das Wirtshaus von Dartmoor (1964)
East-German postcard by VEB Progress Film-Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 3034, 1968. Photo: publicity still for Das Wirtshaus von Dartmoor/The Inn on Dartmoor (Rudolf Zehetgruber, 1964).

The first female private detective of German TV

From 1963 to 1965 Kai Fischer played the first female private detective of German television in the ZDF series Die Karte mit dem Luchskopf (Hermann Kugelstadt, 1963-1965). She also wrote the scripts for 13 episodes of the series.

At times, she also worked internationally, like in the Jayne Mansfield vehicle Too Hot to Handle (Terence Young, 1960), The Hellfire Club (Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman, 1961) with Peter Cushing, and Escape from East Berlin (Robert Siodmak, 1962). In Italy, she was seen in Spaghetti Westerns like Le pistole non discutono/Guns Don't Talk (Mario Caiano, 1964) starring Rod Cameron.

In these films her erotic charisma was often used. She even made some soft sex films like Josefine Mutzenbacher (Kurt Nachmann, 1970). It was only in the 1970s that she was able to gradually free herself from her sexy image. She became well known for her role as dompteuse Tiger Lilli in the popular TV series Salto Mortale (Michael Braun, 1969-1972) starring Gustav Knuth. She also could be seen in episodes of Krimis like Der Kommissar/The Commissioner (1975) and Derrick (1978).

She played a more serious role in the arthouse film Die Angst des Tormanns beim Elfmeter/The Fear of the Goal at the penalty (1972) by Wim Wenders. She also got a part in Ingmar Bergman’s film The Serpent's Egg (1977) with Liv Ullmann.

Up until the end of the 1980s Kai Fischer played parts in film and television productions, including Lena Rais (Christian Rischert, 1979), and the romantic comedy Kassensturz/Banks And Robbers (Rolf Silber, 1984). She also played stage roles, wrote books, and, under pseudonym, criminal novels.

From 1984 on, Fischer worked as a businesswoman. Since then, she has only appeared in episodes of television series, such as Alte Gauner (1985), Der Fahnder (1986), Tatort (1988) and Liebesgeschichten/Love stories (1990).

In 1970 she recorded an LP, Kai Fidelity with naughty songs. Kai Fischer stayed refreshingly naughty. Her last film appearances were in the Rosa von Praunheim epic Der Einstein des Sex (1999) about Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, founder of the First Institute of Sexual Sciences, and - according to IMDb - as a ward in the German prison drama Gefangen/Locked up (Jörg Andreas, 2004). The gay sex in the film wasn't simulated. Originally the film was shot and released as a hardcore adult video, released in the U.S. as In the Hole. Although a reviewer mentions that there were professional, non-adult actors in the film, this IMDb must refer to another Kai Fischer.

Kai Fischer sings Ich bin so wahnsinnig sexy. Source: Mr Dennis 0582 (YouTube).

German trailer for Too Hot to Handle (1960). Source: Jayne Mansfield Film Archives (YouTube).

Sources: Stephanie d’Heil (Steffi-Line) – German), Wikipedia (English and German) and IMDb.

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