(director/writer: Philippe Mora; screenwriter: Lutz
Becker; editor: Andrew Patterson; music: Richard Wagner;
cast: Eva Braun, Adolph Hitler, Josef Goebbels, Hermann
Martin Bormann, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolph Hess,
Albert Speer, Joachim Von Ribbentrop; Runtime: 113; MPAA
Rating: NR; producers: Sandy Lieberman/David Puttnam;
Kino International; 1974-UK-in German with English
"The attempt to humanize Hitler never comes off."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The provocative documentary
was banned in Israel on the ground that it projects a
sympathetic image of Adolph Hitler. It was denounced when it premiered at the
Cannes Film Festival and was banned in Germany for 37 years, until
Nazi propaganda film is based on archival footage,
newsreel clips and 16mm color home movies from
Hitler's private collection, some shot by Hitler's
mistress Eva Braun in the years 1933-1939. The attempt
to humanize Hitler never comes off, as the opening
credits state: "If Hitler is dehumanized and shown
only as a devil, any future Hitler may not be
recognized, simply because he is a human being."
Australian filmmaker Philippe Mora ("Mad Dog Morgan"/"A Breed Apart"/"Howling III"), of Jewish descent, shows the Hitler inner circle lounging about in his retreat at Berghof, in the Bavarian Alps. Animal lover Eva Braun and her playful sister Gretl are there sporting swim suits, doing gymnastics and showing love to bunnies and pet dogs. Interspersed are clips of large rallies in support of Hitler, the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the smashing of Jewish-owned stores across Germany and Austria by Nazi goons and storm troopers during Kristallnacht, military recruits in training, a clip from the vile anti-Semitic propaganda film The Eternal Jew, a Nazi rally in NYC and the largest rally in party history in Nuremberg. It ends on a comical note, in 1945, with the declared death of Hitler and with Noël Coward cheerily singing "Don't Let us Be Beastly to the Germans."
None of the material would be
interesting if it didn't feature Hitler, full of vigor
and pleased with himself, showing footage he believes
would have pleased the German public about their Führer.
There was no narration to give the film some needed
context, which is my only criticism. As for the
controversial showing of this film, I have no problem
with that--especially since there's nothing in it that
can induce us into believing the monster was a good guy
and censorship usually serves no purpose in free
REVIEWED ON 4/11/2012 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ