The first big hit of the Hitler revival in West Germany: it came as a book-plus-film package, just like Jaws. The movie is a long compilation of documentary footage, tracing Hitler's political trajectory from its early setbacks in the '20s to its end, with just enough contexting material to support its simple linear-history argument; this English version is garnished with a grave, moralising commentary. There's a strong bias towards footage from the '20s and '30s, presumably because images of the blitzkrieg and the concentration camps would be less saleable to a modern German audience. British audiences, of course, haven't been protected from Hitler, and much of the material is familiar here from TV compilations and movies like The Double-Headed Eagle and Swastika. But whether one finds the material intrinsically interesting or not, there's no mistaking the nature of the packaging: this is 'history' conceived, edited and scored like fiction, self-sufficient and comfortably remote.
Joachim C Fest, Christian Herrendoerfer
Joachim C Fest
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