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* VengeanceDenied: Matthäi pledged to avenge the death of a little girl at the hands of a SerialKiller to her parents. After a long time figuring out the man's tactics, he sets up what he thinks is a fool-proof trap.... and the man never arrives. And the detective spends many years afterwards waiting for him, having destroyed his career and relationship with everybody he ever cared about once the fact he used the daughter of a woman he befriended as bait. [[spoiler: Turns out that the serial killer was going to fall into the trap, but some random idiot driver hit his car and killed him instantly — a fact that is told to the other detective in charge of the case by the wife of the killer, as a Deathbed Confession. The story ends with the detective that made the pledge, now so addled from senility that he can't really think of more than maintaining his vigilance of the trap, refusing to accept that it was AllForNothing.]]

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* VengeanceDenied: Matthäi pledged to avenge the death of a little girl at the hands of a SerialKiller to her parents. After a long time figuring out the man's tactics, he sets up what he thinks is a fool-proof trap.... and the man never arrives. And the detective spends many years afterwards waiting for him, having destroyed his career and relationship with everybody he ever cared about once the fact he used the daughter of a woman he befriended as bait. [[spoiler: Turns out that the serial killer was going to fall into the trap, but some random idiot driver hit his car and killed him instantly — a fact that is told to the other detective in charge of the case by the wife of the killer, as a Deathbed Confession.DeathbedConfession. The story ends with the detective that made the pledge, now so addled from senility that he can't really think of more than maintaining his vigilance of the trap, refusing to accept that it was AllForNothing.]]


* VenganceDenied: Matthäi pledged to avenge the death of a little girl at the hands of a SerialKiller to her parents. After a long time figuring out the man's tactics, he sets up what he thinks is a fool-proof trap.... and the man never arrives. And the detective spends many years afterwards waiting for him, having destroyed his career and relationship with everybody he ever cared about once the fact he used the daughter of a woman he befriended as bait. [[spoiler: Turns out that the serial killer was going to fall into the trap, but some random idiot driver hit his car and killed him instantly — a fact that is told to the other detective in charge of the case by the wife of the killer, as a Deathbed Confession. The story ends with the detective that made the pledge, now so addled from senility that he can't really think of more than maintaining his vigilance of the trap, refusing to accept that it was AllForNothing.]]

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* VenganceDenied: VengeanceDenied: Matthäi pledged to avenge the death of a little girl at the hands of a SerialKiller to her parents. After a long time figuring out the man's tactics, he sets up what he thinks is a fool-proof trap.... and the man never arrives. And the detective spends many years afterwards waiting for him, having destroyed his career and relationship with everybody he ever cared about once the fact he used the daughter of a woman he befriended as bait. [[spoiler: Turns out that the serial killer was going to fall into the trap, but some random idiot driver hit his car and killed him instantly — a fact that is told to the other detective in charge of the case by the wife of the killer, as a Deathbed Confession. The story ends with the detective that made the pledge, now so addled from senility that he can't really think of more than maintaining his vigilance of the trap, refusing to accept that it was AllForNothing.]]

Added DiffLines:

* VenganceDenied: Matthäi pledged to avenge the death of a little girl at the hands of a SerialKiller to her parents. After a long time figuring out the man's tactics, he sets up what he thinks is a fool-proof trap.... and the man never arrives. And the detective spends many years afterwards waiting for him, having destroyed his career and relationship with everybody he ever cared about once the fact he used the daughter of a woman he befriended as bait. [[spoiler: Turns out that the serial killer was going to fall into the trap, but some random idiot driver hit his car and killed him instantly — a fact that is told to the other detective in charge of the case by the wife of the killer, as a Deathbed Confession. The story ends with the detective that made the pledge, now so addled from senility that he can't really think of more than maintaining his vigilance of the trap, refusing to accept that it was AllForNothing.]]


It was based on the script for the Swiss-German movie ''Es geschah am hellichten Tag'' (''It Happened in Broad Daylight''), a cautionary tale for the public about child predators and murderers, starring [[Literature/FatherBrown Heinz Rühmann]] as the inspector and Creator/GertFroebe as the killer. This screenplay was written by Dürrenmatt too, but he was unhappy with the SurprisinglyHappyEnding, brought forth by ExecutiveMeddling.

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It was based on the script for the Swiss-German movie ''Es geschah am hellichten Tag'' (''It Happened in Broad Daylight''), a cautionary tale for the public about child predators and murderers, starring [[Literature/FatherBrown Heinz Rühmann]] as the inspector and Creator/GertFroebe Creator/GertFrobe as the killer. This screenplay was written by Dürrenmatt too, but he was unhappy with the SurprisinglyHappyEnding, brought forth by ExecutiveMeddling.


-> ''"I wait, I wait, he will come, he will come."''

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-> ''"I ''"I'll wait, I I'll wait, he will come, he will come."''



It was based on the script for the Swiss-German movie ''Es geschah am hellichten Tag'' (''It Happened in Broad Daylight''), a cautionary tale for the public about child predators and murderers, starring [[Literature/FatherBrown Heinz Rühmann]] as the inspector and [[Film/{{Goldfinger}} Gert Fröbe]] as the killer. This film was also written by Dürrenmatt himself, but he was unhappy with the SurprisinglyHappyEnding, brought forth by ExecutiveMeddling.

to:

It was based on the script for the Swiss-German movie ''Es geschah am hellichten Tag'' (''It Happened in Broad Daylight''), a cautionary tale for the public about child predators and murderers, starring [[Literature/FatherBrown Heinz Rühmann]] as the inspector and [[Film/{{Goldfinger}} Gert Fröbe]] Creator/GertFroebe as the killer. This film screenplay was also written by Dürrenmatt himself, too, but he was unhappy with the SurprisinglyHappyEnding, brought forth by ExecutiveMeddling.


In return, Dürrenmatt’s book was adapted itself by Creator/SeanPenn in 2001, simply called ''The Pledge''.

to:

In return, Dürrenmatt’s Dürrenmatt's book was adapted itself by Creator/SeanPenn in 2001, simply called ''The Pledge''.



The police investigator meets the murdered girl’s parents, and [[ThePromise promises them to find the killer]], delivering the story’s MacGuffin. Then he goes to the girl’s school, and finds out from a classmate that she claimed a giant had been giving her chocolate hedgehogs. He finds a picture she drew before her death, featuring herself, the giant, a car and a Capricorn.

to:

The police investigator meets the murdered girl’s girl's parents, and [[ThePromise promises them to find the killer]], delivering the story’s story's MacGuffin. Then he goes to the girl’s girl's school, and finds out from a classmate that she claimed a giant had been giving her chocolate hedgehogs. He finds a picture she drew before her death, featuring herself, the giant, a car and a Capricorn.



The case seems solved, especially when von Gunten, driven to despair by the interrogation, [[DrivenToSuicide hangs himself in his cell]]. Matthäi gets commended for his work and even the victm’s parents thank him for keeping his promise.

Matthäi himself is ordered by the confederation to travel to Amman, Jordan, to instruct the local police force. However, he gets severe doubts about von Gunten’s guilt and his colleagues’ apt and popularist judgement. Seeing how von Gunten is implicated with two further similar child murders throughout the country, the chances are high that there still is a serial killer on the loose.

to:

The case seems solved, especially when von Gunten, driven to despair by the interrogation, [[DrivenToSuicide hangs himself in his cell]]. Matthäi gets commended for his work and even the victm’s victm's parents thank him for keeping his promise.

Matthäi himself is ordered by the confederation to travel to Amman, Jordan, to instruct the local police force. However, he gets severe doubts about von Gunten’s Gunten's guilt and his colleagues’ colleagues' apt and popularist judgement. Seeing how von Gunten is implicated with two further similar child murders throughout the country, the chances are high that there still is a serial killer on the loose.



* AdaptationalAlternateEnding: The endings of ''Tag'' and ''The Pledge'' are substantially different.



* AlphaBitch: Frau Schrott, the murderer’s wife, is this in varying degrees in every adaptation. She is always more or less to blame for her husband’s FreudianExcuse.
* AlternateEnding: The endings of ''Tag'' and ''The Pledge'' are substantially different.



* TheBait: Annemarie, and she doesn’t even know.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:In the novelisation, through a crass coincidence, the murderer dies in a car crash while driving to the police setup. The police end up thinking Matthäi was wrong all along, Ms Heller and her daughter leave him out of pure detestation, while he persists that the murderer will still show up and spends the rest of his miserable and lonely life waiting for him. Years later, when his superior finds out he was, in fact, [[ProperlyParanoid right all along]], he tries to apologise and tell him he was right, but Matthäi is already to addled to understand.]]

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* TheBait: Annemarie, and she doesn’t doesn't even know.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:In the novelisation, through a crass coincidence, the murderer dies in a car crash while driving to the police setup. The police end up thinking Matthäi was wrong all along, Ms Heller and her daughter leave him out of pure detestation, while he persists that the murderer will still show up and spends the rest of his miserable and lonely life waiting for him. Years later, when his superior finds out he was, in fact, [[ProperlyParanoid right all along]], he tries to apologise and tell him he was right, but Matthäi is already to too addled to understand.]]



* DaChief: In all adaptations, he is Matthäi’s FriendOnTheForce after the latter quits. In the novelisation, he even is the narrator of the framework story.

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* ConvictedByPublicOpinion: The villagers easily jump to the conclusion that the peddler committed the crime, though there was no evidence against him at this point.
* DaChief: In all adaptations, he is Matthäi’s Matthäi's FriendOnTheForce after the latter quits. In the novelisation, he even is the narrator of the framework story.



* TheDeterminator: Matthäi sets out to find the murderer even if it means losing his job and becoming a VigilanteMan.



* GPSEvidence: The capricorn drawn by the little girl helps Matthäi narrowing down the location of the murderer.
* HenpeckedHusband: Schrott's wife is making his life miserable in varying degrees in every adaptation. She is always more or less to blame for her husband's FreudianExcuse.



* OneLastJob: This case was supposed to be Matthäi's last job before his relocation to Arabia.



* ThePromise: [[TitleDrop Duh]]. The thing that keeps plot rolling, given by Matthäi to the murdered child’s parents.
* RedHerring: It is established pretty early that von Gunten wasn’t a murderer as much as a victim of popular judgement.
* TheReveal: In the novelisation, years after the murders took place, an elderly woman receiving her holy unction summons DaChief to her death bed and confesses to him that her husband was the child murderer [[spoiler:and died in a car crash on the day of the setup, revealing to the audience and DaChief that Matthäi was right all along. Too bad it’s too late for Matthäi.]]

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* ThePromise: [[TitleDrop Duh]]. The thing that keeps plot rolling, given by Matthäi to the murdered child’s child's parents.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Matthäi is the only person in charge believing in the peddler's innocence.
* RedHerring: It is established pretty early that von Gunten wasn’t wasn't a murderer as much as a victim of popular judgement.
* TheReveal: In the novelisation, years after the murders took place, an elderly woman receiving her holy unction summons DaChief to her [[DeathbedConfession death bed and confesses confesses]] to him that her husband was the child murderer [[spoiler:and died in a car crash on the day of the setup, revealing to the audience and DaChief that Matthäi was right all along. Too bad it’s it's too late for Matthäi.]]



* SurprisinglyHappyEnding: [[spoiler:''Tag'' ends with the killer getting shot by the police and an unsuspecting Annemarie getting entertained by Matthäi, who has taken the killer’s place as ‘the wizard’. Her mother doesn’t mind so much, either.]]
* TorchesAndPitchforks: The population of the murder victim’s hometown. In the novel, they even try to physically hinder von Gunten and the policemen escorting him from leaving by blocking the road with the local fire brigade’s engine.

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* TheStakeout: The garage Matthäi uses as his headquarters.
* SurprisinglyHappyEnding: [[spoiler:''Tag'' ends with the killer getting shot by the police and an unsuspecting Annemarie getting entertained by Matthäi, who has taken the killer’s killer's place as ‘the wizard’. wizard'. Her mother doesn’t doesn't mind so much, either.]]
* TorchesAndPitchforks: The population of the murder victim’s victim's hometown. In the novel, they even try to physically hinder von Gunten and the policemen escorting him from leaving by blocking the road with the local fire brigade’s brigade's engine.



* WhatTheHellHero: In the novelisation, and especially in the 2001 movie, the mother gives on to Matthäi when she finds out why he even engaged her in the first place; to endanger her daughter’s life by serving her as bait for a violent murderer.

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* WhatTheHellHero: In the novelisation, and especially in the 2001 movie, the mother gives on to Matthäi when she finds out why he even engaged her in the first place; to endanger her daughter’s daughter's life by serving her as bait for a violent murderer.


So he chose to write his own version of the story, quite a bit DarkerAndEdgier and more [[AdaptationExpansion complex]] than the film and its [[TheHollywoodFormula fairly standard plot]]. Among other things, it makes both the protagonist and antagonist more tragic, and gives the whole spectacle a BittersweetEnding, perhaps even a DownerEnding.

to:

So he chose to write his own version of the story, quite a bit DarkerAndEdgier and more [[AdaptationExpansion complex]] than the film and its [[TheHollywoodFormula fairly standard plot]]. Among other things, it makes both the protagonist and antagonist more tragic, [[TragicHero more]] [[TragicVillain tragic]], and gives the whole spectacle a BittersweetEnding, perhaps even a DownerEnding.


''Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman'', better known as ''The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel''', is a crime thriller written by the Swiss author and playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt in 1958. [[SchoolStudyMedia A very popular subject in language classes throughout the German-speaking world]].

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''Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman'', better known as ''The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel''', Novel'', is a crime thriller written by the Swiss author and playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt in 1958. [[SchoolStudyMedia A very popular subject in language classes throughout the German-speaking world]].

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* SpannerInTheWorks: [[spoiler:Some random idiot motorist crashed with the SerialKiller, killing him before he could get to the trap. This is the biggest trigger for the subsequent DownerEnding.]]

Added DiffLines:

[[quoteright:245:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_pledge.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:245:''[[AdultFear Girls Beware!]]'']]

-> ''"I wait, I wait, he will come, he will come."''

''Das Versprechen: Requiem auf den Kriminalroman'', better known as ''The Pledge: Requiem for the Detective Novel''', is a crime thriller written by the Swiss author and playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt in 1958. [[SchoolStudyMedia A very popular subject in language classes throughout the German-speaking world]].

It was based on the script for the Swiss-German movie ''Es geschah am hellichten Tag'' (''It Happened in Broad Daylight''), a cautionary tale for the public about child predators and murderers, starring [[Literature/FatherBrown Heinz Rühmann]] as the inspector and [[Film/{{Goldfinger}} Gert Fröbe]] as the killer. This film was also written by Dürrenmatt himself, but he was unhappy with the SurprisinglyHappyEnding, brought forth by ExecutiveMeddling.

So he chose to write his own version of the story, quite a bit DarkerAndEdgier and more [[AdaptationExpansion complex]] than the film and its [[TheHollywoodFormula fairly standard plot]]. Among other things, it makes both the protagonist and antagonist more tragic, and gives the whole spectacle a BittersweetEnding, perhaps even a DownerEnding.

In return, Dürrenmatt’s book was adapted itself by Creator/SeanPenn in 2001, simply called ''The Pledge''.

Yet, both later works follow ''Tag'' in their basic plot and premise:

Somewhere in Zurich, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, an old peddler named von Gunten makes a horrifying discovery; in a forest, a school-age girl had been cut to death with a razor blade.

From a local village, von Gunten calls [[HelloAgainOfficer his old acquaintance]], Komissar Matthäi of the Canton Police, to come and investigate for himself.

The police investigator meets the murdered girl’s parents, and [[ThePromise promises them to find the killer]], delivering the story’s MacGuffin. Then he goes to the girl’s school, and finds out from a classmate that she claimed a giant had been giving her chocolate hedgehogs. He finds a picture she drew before her death, featuring herself, the giant, a car and a Capricorn.

In the meantime, the locals have decided that von Gunten himself, previously convicted for sexual offence, is in fact the killer, and try to lynch him. To save him from the [[TorchesAndPitchforks angry mob]], Matthäi arrests von Gunten and hands him over to the local police. Equally convinced of his guilt, the police conduct a [[EnhancedInterrogationTechniques 20-hour non-stop]] PerpSweating, and thus torture a confession out of him.

The case seems solved, especially when von Gunten, driven to despair by the interrogation, [[DrivenToSuicide hangs himself in his cell]]. Matthäi gets commended for his work and even the victm’s parents thank him for keeping his promise.

Matthäi himself is ordered by the confederation to travel to Amman, Jordan, to instruct the local police force. However, he gets severe doubts about von Gunten’s guilt and his colleagues’ apt and popularist judgement. Seeing how von Gunten is implicated with two further similar child murders throughout the country, the chances are high that there still is a serial killer on the loose.

Overtaken by guilt, he skips the flight to Jordan [[TurnInYourBadge and quits his job as a police investigator]], vowing to keep the promise he gave and [[VigilanteMan track down the killer on his own]]. He buys a gas station in the alps, in direct vicinity of the crime scenes, and hires Frau Heller, a former HookerWithAHeartOfGold and her little daughter Annemarie. Having taken advice from local children fishing, Matthäi wants to use Annemarie as bait to catch the killer, who seems to be fixated on killing blondes in red skirts...

----
!!The films and the book provide examples of the following tropes:

* AdultFear: The main reason for the entire story. ''Tag'' was a television movie made for the sole purpose of teaching parents out there about the dangers of child predators. Quite a controversial topic in the 1950s.
* AlphaBitch: Frau Schrott, the murderer’s wife, is this in varying degrees in every adaptation. She is always more or less to blame for her husband’s FreudianExcuse.
* AlternateEnding: The endings of ''Tag'' and ''The Pledge'' are substantially different.
* AntiHero: Matthäi, who first fails to stand up for von Gunten, and then uses an unsuspecting mother and her young daughter as live bait to catch a serial killer. In the DarkerAndEdgier novelisation, he also smokes and drinks excessively. He (and his colleagues) hit Annemarie out of pure frustration. [[spoiler: And in the end, he goes insane and ends up a senile old drunkard.]]
* TheBait: Annemarie, and she doesn’t even know.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:In the novelisation, through a crass coincidence, the murderer dies in a car crash while driving to the police setup. The police end up thinking Matthäi was wrong all along, Ms Heller and her daughter leave him out of pure detestation, while he persists that the murderer will still show up and spends the rest of his miserable and lonely life waiting for him. Years later, when his superior finds out he was, in fact, [[ProperlyParanoid right all along]], he tries to apologise and tell him he was right, but Matthäi is already to addled to understand.]]
--> [[spoiler:'''Matthäi:''' I wait. He will still come.]]
* BlackComedyBurst: The book indulges in some situational comedy when DaChief goes to visit [[spoiler:the Schrott widow for a DeathbedConfession (a major revelation in the story)]], only for her [[DerailedTrainOfThought to derail multiple times reminiscing and stumbling over minor details]], all while the priest (who's waiting to give [[spoiler:her the final anointment]]) keeps telling her to get on with it.
* ChekhovsGun: The murder victim's drawing, originally dismissed as a product of her imagination.
* ContrivedCoincidence: [[spoiler:Deliberately played straight and lampshaded by Dürrenmatt ''just'' to avoid a HappyEnding. [[WordOfGod According to him]], this was his way of showing that in real life, chances of catching such killers are lower than probable.]]
* DaChief: In all adaptations, he is Matthäi’s FriendOnTheForce after the latter quits. In the novelisation, he even is the narrator of the framework story.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The novel. The setting is grittier, all the characters are more morally ambiguous.
* {{Deconstruction}}: ''The Pledge'' is one of the crime story genre, as well as of the movie on which it was based. It [[SubvertedTrope subverts]] many of the tropes used in popular crime fiction and rides them into the ground (such as the [[spoiler:ending]]). Thus the subtitle ''Requiem for the Detective Novel''.
* DirtyCop: The police examining the murder. They want the case closed as fast as possible, and shift all the blame on the [[AcceptableTargets old peddler]].
* DownerEnding: See BittersweetEnding. [[spoiler:It is pretty much one for the protagonist, though not for the audience.]]
* EnhancedInterrogationTechniques: Yes, interrogating someone until he is psychologically unable to bear it anymore counts as torture as well.
* ForeignRemake: The 2001 movie plays entirely in the U.S., somewhere in the Rocky Mountains (but filmed in [[CanadaEh British Columbia]]).
* FreudianExcuse: In ''Tag'', the murderer lives under the tyranny of his wife, and vents his spleen on his victims.
* MayDecemberRomance: A retired police officer in his 60s (played by Creator/JackNicholson) begins a relationship with a single mother (played by Creator/RobinWright) who's his junior by about 30 years. [[spoiler:The relationship ends disastrously when he decides to use their daughter as bait to catch an elusive child murderer.]]
* PerpSweating: Done to von Gunten, for 20 hours, to get him to confess.
* ThePromise: [[TitleDrop Duh]]. The thing that keeps plot rolling, given by Matthäi to the murdered child’s parents.
* RedHerring: It is established pretty early that von Gunten wasn’t a murderer as much as a victim of popular judgement.
* TheReveal: In the novelisation, years after the murders took place, an elderly woman receiving her holy unction summons DaChief to her death bed and confesses to him that her husband was the child murderer [[spoiler:and died in a car crash on the day of the setup, revealing to the audience and DaChief that Matthäi was right all along. Too bad it’s too late for Matthäi.]]
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism & SlidingScaleOfShinyVersusGritty: ''Tag'' is very much in the middle with an upward tendency. Its novelisation and its adaptation are near the bottom. Dürrenmatt did a good job of actually letting the [[SceneryPorn Swiss Alps]], of all places, seem gritty.
* SurprisinglyHappyEnding: [[spoiler:''Tag'' ends with the killer getting shot by the police and an unsuspecting Annemarie getting entertained by Matthäi, who has taken the killer’s place as ‘the wizard’. Her mother doesn’t mind so much, either.]]
* TorchesAndPitchforks: The population of the murder victim’s hometown. In the novel, they even try to physically hinder von Gunten and the policemen escorting him from leaving by blocking the road with the local fire brigade’s engine.
* VigilanteMan: Matthäi quits the force and builds up a gas station business for the sole purpose of finding the killer.
* WhatTheHellHero: In the novelisation, and especially in the 2001 movie, the mother gives on to Matthäi when she finds out why he even engaged her in the first place; to endanger her daughter’s life by serving her as bait for a violent murderer.
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