USA / West Germany, 1961 (MIFF 1962)
Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Question Seven was financed by the Lutheran Film Associates and produced by Lothar Wolff, of Louis de Rochemont Associates, who was chief editor of The March of Time series and producer of Martin Luther. Wolff describes his film as "the story of those in any age who suffer for their faith under the pressure of a totalitarian regime".
Question Seven claims to present an actual case of the encroachment of the State on the realm of conscience and belief. It opens with the "trial" in an East German village, namely a Lutheran pastoi charged with frustrating the Communist Party's youth programme. The minister is found guilty and the scene shifts to the headquarters of the Lutheran Church, presumably in West Berlin, where a replacement is being given final instructions. The new minister tries to avoid open conflict with the authorities, but his 15-year-old son, an aspiring pianist, is faced with a dilemma at school—advanced education is only available to those who hold "correct" views, how then shall he answer question seven on the questionnaire circulated to his school: "State what the major influence has been in your social development?" His teacher tempts him with a promising future as a People's artist, while his father points out the psychological damage which results when people do not stand up for what they believe ....
The film marks Stuart Rosenberg's first solo credit as a film director and he gives the subject, although dramatised, an almost documentary approach. It was filmed on location in Germany and with a European cast. Invited to the Berlin Film Festival the West German government awarded it a "Besonders wertvoll" predicate (of high artistic value), and it was nominated the best film of 1961 by the U.S. National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.