DIE RATTEN and LIEBE OHNE ILLUSION were produced by CCC-Film in Berlin, who Jürgens was suing at the time. In the second half of the 1950s he increasingly worked abroad: films produced during this period included MICHEL STROGOFF (1956), THIS HAPPY FEELING (1958), THE INN OF THE SIXTH HAPPINESS (1958) or FERRY TO HONG KONG (1959). At the end of the 1950s producers had united in implementing a wage limit for their stars whose earnings per film were not to exceed DM 100,000. For Jürgens the most important reason for working primarily in the USA was certainly for the dollars.
However, Jürgens remained interested in German projects, especially if they were unusual. A “Peer Gynt project” was planned with Artur Brauner but it subsequently fell through. Thereupon Brauner sent him, as Jürgens wrote to the producer on 13.1.1960, “just about every manuscript in which there was a male leading role.” He continues:
“You know that there is only one circumstance that would make me forget all the financial constraints and disadvantages: if we were talking about an ambitiously artistic film, perhaps with the chance of opening the international door to German film, presenting modern ways and superseding traditional conservative German film.”
Brauner offered him a project with the title “Dr. Feelgood”, and Jürgens dreamt of a “continuation of the Nouvelle Vague which would renew the whole world of film”. Jürgens was certainly not a party to the Oberhausen Manifesto, but his reaction reflects the general sense of discontent with film production at this time.