The case of Rosemarie Nitribitt is a bit odd. At the age of 24, she was found dead. But the years leading up to her untimely death were busy and ambitious. While she never did anything terribly “memorable” or noteworthy, she’s been remembered for more than half a century with films, books and a musical. Seemingly her only claim to fame was her ambition and her willingness to do pretty much anything. The made for German television movie Das Mädchen Rosemarie recounts her sad story.
After an unfortunate childhood that saw her in a juvenile home and a number of foster homes, it was clear that Rosemarie (Nina Hoss) was a handful. She dreamed of a life like an American movie star with expensive clothing and fancy sports cars. What’s more, she wasn’t afraid of doing whatever she had to to get those things. Eventually, Rosemarie turned prostitution into her “business.” She sets her sights on businessman Konrad Hartog (Heiner Lauterbach) and she falls hard for him, becoming infatuated although perhaps not in love with him. He eventually ends their relationship to protect his fiancee. In response, she decides to work with a French businessman (Mathieu Carrière) based in Germany. They make a deal: he’ll make her into a high class call girl and she has to tape record her pillow talk with all of the city’s prominent businessmen. The plan goes bad for Rosemarie, however, when the French businessman decides to blackmail his German associates — and she, in turn, blackmails all of them.
Made in 1996 and for television, Das Mädchen Rosemarie has good production values but not high ones. At over two hours in length, it’s rather long considering that the story doesn’t build quite the intrigue that it could. The film is also likely very casual with its association with the true facts of the real people involved. What could have been a thrilling whodunit is more of a deflated biopic of a woman it’s really difficult to like. About the only person Rosemarie never sold out was Rosemarie. But I’m sure if she could have, she would have.