HEIMAT: A CHRONICLE OF GERMANY BY EDGAR REITZ. (1984) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HEIMAT: A CHRONICLE OF GERMANY. (1984) WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY EDGAR REITZ. STARRING MARITA BREUER, HENRY ARNOLD, SALOME KAMMER, MATTHIAS KNIESBECK, MICHAEL KAUSCH, NICOLA SCHOSSLER AND JAN DIETER SCHNEIDER.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘All soldiers go to Heaven and get a white robe.’

‘I hear that gypsy women shave themselves down below. Is that true?’

‘And now we see our women bed down with Frenchies.’

‘They call me a French whore. Must I pay forever because there was a war?’

This magnificent series, composed entirely of eleven feature-length films, is the brainchild of Edgar Reitz, born in 1932 with a skilled craftsman for a father, like his protagonist Paul Simon. Yeah yeah, you can call him Al, lol. Get it out of your system now, ye messers.

Anyway, properly entitled A CHRONICLE OF GERMANY, it tells the story of a German family from 1919 to 1982. They live in the fictional rural village of Schabbach and their quiet country life is offset against the wider political developments in Germany, which was known as the Weimar Republic from 1919 till the early 1930s.

The Weimar Republic was famous for its cultural revolution. The Arts were fully embraced during this period and women also began to Americanise themselves, cutting their hair short, smoking and shortening their hemlines to match their jazzy hairstyles. The cultural revolution of the Weimar Republic was known as a Golden Age for Germany. Many marvellous films were made here then, books written, music composed and pictures painted.

The word HEIMAT itself means ‘homeland’ or ‘home place,’ but there’s no exact English equivalent. I know what you guys are all dying to ask and that’s this: Is Hitler in it? Is he in HEIMAT? Believe it or not, Hitler didn’t just spring fully-formed from the mouth of hell in 1939, just in time to start the Second World War. That’s what we kids used to think in school. Even as early as 1919, he was working away in the background, doing stuff.

Between 1919 and 1928, the timeline for the first film of HEIMAT which we’ll look at today, Hitler was a busy man. He was gaining a reputation for himself as a great public speaker, setting up the Nazi Party, and taking part in the Beer Hall Putsch, writing MEIN KAMPF (MY STRUGGLE) while languishing temporarily behind bars for his part in the Putsch.

He was also meeting and befriending Goebbels, who was later to become his reviled Propaganda Minister, and making his first hate-filled speeches against ‘the real enemies of Germany,’ the Jews. Obviously he did many more things as well. This is just a broad outline of what he ‘achieved’ in this time period.

Although it’s something of a dubious recommendation, Hitler himself would have adored this first film of HEIMAT, known as FERNWEH or THE CALL OF FARAWAY PLACES. He loved all things rural and had an idealised vision of Germany where shirtless, sweaty men worked and tilled the land and fed the nation while women with shiny flaxen plaits breast-fed the babies and looked after the home and their men.

He had a real thing for women in traditional old German dress, and was never happier than when Eva Braun put on one of these flouncy-aproned, puffy-sleeved frocks for him at the Berghof, his beautiful mountain hideaway in the Obersalzberg mountain retreat in the Bavarian Alps above the market town of Berchtesgaden.

He loathed anyone smoking, especially women, so Eva Braun had to have her puffs in secret, and he also hated women who were caked in heavy make-up. One imagines, therefore, that he wouldn’t have been happy about this short-haired, more mannish new look women were embracing during the period of the Weimar Republic’s cultural revolution.

At the start of HEIMAT, we see the protagonist Paul Simon (yeah yeah, where’s Art Garfunkel…?) coming home from the Great War. He’s young and handsome and appears physically unharmed at least, unlike his friend (HEIMAT‘s narrator) Glasisch Karl, whose hands are all over scabs and rashes from the mustard gas used in World War One. What an awful thought.

At first, Paul seems completely out of it. He feels like a stranger amongst his large family and the wider community of villagers. His parents own a farm and a forge and, now that Paul is back, he’ll be expected to work at one or the other or at both. ‘Father wants me in the forge and in the fields, to carry on his work.’

His sister Pauline does both housework and farmwork and his semi-invalid older brother Eduard (‘Eduard, your lung!’) has an obsessive love of photography. (The story of HEIMAT is told through the hundreds of photographs he takes.) Many friends and relatives are constantly hanging around the farmyard kitchen, the central or focal point of the narrative, so, as you can imagine, there’s not much opportunity for quiet reflection.

We quickly discover Paul’s main talent and biggest interest. He spends hours up in the loft fiddling with radio wires and batteries for his radio transmitter. In the early days of radio, Paul, who learned Morse Code during the war, wants ‘to make a short-wave radio receiver with which he can listen to the whole world.’

He does manage to pick up Mass from Cologne Cathedral during a village picnic in the ruins of an old castle and the old folks are thrilled. There’s nothing old folks like more than a good Mass. Except for maybe a good Confession, haha. Nothing like a nice spiritual enema for clearing the crap out of you. Shudder.

Meanwhile, Paul’s older brother Eduard, already an amateur but extremely enthusiastic photographer in his spare time as we’ve said, is trying to cash in on the massive monument business that grew up after the end of the War. So many German men died in that war. Now they must all be commemorated by having their names chiselled permanently onto huge memorial stones lugged from the quarries, which are doing great business these days.

Eduard is unveiling at this particular memorial stone ceremony not only the monument itself, but also his top-secret patented invention for unveiling monuments. It’s so funny, this bit. It’s something I never gave any thought to before, the fact that so many mens’ deaths had to be commemorated via a monument of stone that someone actually invented a contraption for their smooth unveiling.

It’s really just a series of pulleys and whatnot rigged up to lift the sheet off the monument, which looks like a giant ghost reaching up towards the sky. It turns into quite a beautiful and moving scene, with the umbrellas and the rain and the choir of schoolgirls singing angelically to commemorate all the fallen soldiers. Karl Glasisch comments irreverently here: ‘If I’d fallen in Flanders, I’d be on this memorial and people would lift their hats to me.’

What’s most memorable, however, is the speech being made here by the local bigwig. At the time, Germany, having been deemed to- ahem- have been responsible for the First World War (no waaaaaay…!), was being crippled by the terms of the Versailles Treaty.

They had to pay x amount of money in reparations (whatever it was, it was humongous) and were positively forbidden from re-arming themselves. Of course, when Hitler came officially to power he said ‘fuck this shit for a game of soldiers’ and, just like that, he threw the whole thing out the door like an old carpet, the whole Versailles treaty. But for now, the Germans were feeling the pinch, and what the officiating bigwig says at the monument-unveiling ceremony is actually eerily prophetic:

‘Germany will one day arouse the genius of its blood who will deliver us from this dungeon of humiliation like a Saviour. Already we sense his shining presence in the distance, then peace will come. A peace necessary for the strong future of our state and which will influence world history. Our loved ones did not die in vain…’

Well, he’s literally just predicted the coming of Hitler but whatevs, let’s move on. Time passes and Paul marries a local girl called Maria and they have two baby sons together called Anton and Ernst. It’s obvious to the viewer that Paul’s still madly in love with a dark-haired girl called Apollonia who’s had a child by a Frenchman, leading the prejudiced natives to call her a gypsy, a whore and a traitoress. Nice people, eh?

Apollonia offers Paul the chance to run away from Schabbach with her, but he can’t leave his radio battery and his precious wireless. He could always have taken them with him, but no. He’s not far-sighted enough to work this out. Oh well, it’s his loss, and Maria’s waiting in the wings anyway, for her own chance to nab Paul.

Hitler would have hugely approved of the women singing at their looming and weaving, and of the man who says at the village picnic in the grounds of the old ruined castle, quoting a favourite idea of Uncle Adolf’s: ‘What we need today are really feminine women and masculine men, inwardly and outwardly.’

Come to Schabbach and meet the boy whose brother put his eye out with a fork at their Confirmation, the baker who lost three sons in the Great War and, my personal favourite, an old geezer who can unfailingly tell the weather from the condition of his cellar steps.

You can also meet Paul’s sister Paulina Simon’s older husband, Robert, a jewellery-maker who can fashion wedding rings from your own gold and who shares a house with Jewish businesses, whose windows are already being shattered by hooligans as early as 1923.

There aren’t really any Jews in the village of Shabbach, so we only hear about their fate in World War II second-hand, such as when Maria’s handsome blonde younger brother, Wilfried Wiegand, who’s in the SS, makes a casual reference at a party to how ‘the Final Solution to the Jewish problem’ was continuing at a galloping pace, with the Jews all going ‘up the chimney,’ with an accompanying ‘poof’ sound. Paulina asks her brother what he means by people’s ‘going up the chimney,’ but he doesn’t explain and she doesn’t push the issue.

The years go by, anyway, as they tend to do, and Katherina and Mathias Simon, the original materfamilias and paterfamilias of the family, grow older and eventually go to the churchyard.

Paul goes off to America and later returns, Eduard marries Lucie, the ambitious former madam of a brothel who’ll push him farther than he probably would have gone on his own, and World War II happens.

Anton and Ernst go off to war and come back and Maria, their mother, has a child called Hermann with their pre-wartime tenant, engineer Otto Wohlleben, who comes to the Hunsruck area to build the highway, and later defuses Allied bombs for the benefit of the German army.

The action in HEIMAT goes all the way up to 1982, and ends with a scene of Heaven on earth in the town hall during a village fair that leaves me blubbing like a baby every time I watch it. Be warned. It’s a five-Kleenex ending, at least…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline.You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

THE BLACK CAT. (1934) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

black cat skinning

THE BLACK CAT. (1934) FROM THE STORY BY EDGAR ALLAN POE. DIRECTED BY EDGAR G. ULMER. PRODUCED BY CARL LAEMMLE, JR. DISTRIBUTED BY UNIVERSAL PICTURES.

STARRING BELA LUGOSI, BORIS KARLOFF, DAVID MANNERS, JULIE BISHOP, LUCILLE LUND, EGON BRECHER AND HARRY CORDING.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This excellent old vintage horror classic has the distinction of being the first film ever to pair Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff together, so it’s a real case of Dracula versus the Mummy, isn’t? My money’s on the Fanged One rather than Mr. Bandages over there, but you never quite know how these things will pan out, do you?

The story begins on a train. American newly-weds Peter (a mystery writer, ironically enough) and Joan Allison are honeymooning in Hungary when they are asked to share their train compartment with a stranger, a handsome and charming Hungarian psychiatrist with an exotic accent by the name of Dr. Vitus Werdegast (Bela Lugosi). They’re put out, naturally, as they wanted to be alone, but graciously invite Dr. Werdegast to sit with them nonetheless.

Dr. Werdegast is not just a stranger, but also a strangely intense man with a dark past. He reveals some of it to Peter while Peter’s wife Joan is asleep. She’s every inch the early ‘Thirties starlet, by the way, this one, and she spends most of the film screeching in fear at everything she sees and swooning elegantly into the arms of the nearest man.

Peter is obviously the love of her life and he shouldn’t have any trouble whatsoever controlling this docile, biddable little woman. I imagine he’d only slap her as a result of extreme provocation and not as a matter of course, which is always nice to know.

Anyway, I digressed there, lol. Vitus, who’s en route to visit a friend, as yet un-named, reveals to Peter that he has spent the best years of his life rotting away in a horrible prison in Siberia.

He was captured as a POW during the Great War of 1914-1918 and incarcerated for nearly two whole decades, thanks to the betrayal of a friend. His physical body may have survived the ordeal but his soul is in pieces, such was the horror of the place. His eyes are haunted with the memory of it all, and maybe other memories too that we don’t yet know about.

The young couple and Vitus and his wordless servant Thamal seem to be travelling in the same direction, so they all opt to share a carriage. In the lashing rain, however, the carriage overturns in a mudslide.

The driver is killed and Mrs. Allison, the frail little flower-petal, is injured a tiny bit. Vitus says, well, the friend’s house that I’m going to visit is just up the road a piece, come with me and my friend will fix us all up. So that’s what they do…

The ‘friend’ isn’t really a friend at all but Vitus’s worst enemy, the man whose terrible betrayal led to Vitus’s imprisonment for so long. Boris Karloff plays Hjalmar Poelzig, or ‘Pigslowe,’ if you prefer. Just ask Mrs. Allison. She knows what I mean!

Anyway, Poelzig is an architect who has built a very strange, rather futuristic-looking house in a mountainy region on top of Fort Marmarus, which he commanded during the war. Dr. Werdegast was one of his men.

The odd-looking house is surrounded by the graves of hundreds of soldiers who died in the war. It’s a weird, mysterious and atmospheric place, and the perfect location for the dark events that are about to play out there.

Causing Vitus to be imprisoned for so long is only half of what this sinister Poelzig fella has done to poor Vitus. There’s at least one woman in Poelzig’s household who can testify to just what wrongs have been done to her and Vitus and one other party, who shall remain nameless. Vitus is here to revenge himself on Poelzig, but not until the very end of the film does he know to what extent Poelzig has wronged him.

There’s a supernatural element to the film, of course, as Poelzig is involved in some very dodgy practices with their basis in the occult. Mrs. Allison is in grave danger, as Poelzig has decided he likes the look of her and wants to use her in an upcoming ritual. Well, if he needs a bird who can do little else but squawk and swoon into the arms of the nearest bloke, she’ll do just fine.

There is a black cat in the film but he seems to be there only to give Boris the chance to remark sarcastically to a bemused Peter Allison that Bela has a terrible fear of cats. It’s not really integral to the plot.

However, a lot of these old movies liked to be able to say at the beginning of the credits that the movie was inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, whereas in reality the connecting link was often quite tenuous, as it is here. Still, Poe was a popular fellow and, if his name got butts-on-seats, the producers were prepared to use it, see?

The handsome, suave and still young Bela isn’t the villain as such in this one, oddly enough. He wants to avenge himself against the evil Poelzig who is the real villain but, not only that, he’s taken a liking to the pleasant young couple who invited him to share their train compartment and they like him well enough too. (Even though the husband caught Bela stroking the wife’s hair while she was asleep, lol!)

He’s damned if he’s going to let the dastardly Poelzig and his queer V-shaped futuristic hairstyle ruin the young couples’ lives by taking the wife to use as a pawn in his deadly Satanic ritual. The stage is set for a terrific battle of wits between Bela and Boris which might just end in a big bang for someone, but we won’t of course say who. Or is it whom?

Either way, this film is a marvellous watch, with up-tempo classical music playing throughout just as if this were a silent film. Bela is wearing dark lippy and Boris is fully made-up in the style of the stars of silent cinema.

We’re only four years into the talkies by this stage, remember, so the film still retains the look and feel of a silent movie. Luckily for us, though, it’s a talkie and so we get to hear Boris’s charming lithp and Bela talking in his wonderful Dracula voice, which was actually his real accent.

Pre-Code but not, I believe, by much, the film features Satanism, the occult and the skinning alive of a human being and it also hints at abduction, necrophilia, rape and domestic abuse. For a film from the ‘Thirties that’s so old as to be almost a silent movie, it really kicks some serious ass.

What a delicious treat this old black-and-white movie is. It’s only one of a handful of films that were all released with the same title, lol, which must have been terribly confusing for the poor flummoxed viewer. Just how many movies called ‘The Black Cat’ were filmed, anyway? Never mind, dear reader. We don’t need to know. Maybe, as Bela himself remarks in the film, there are more things in heaven and earth…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

HITLER: THE RISE AND FALL. (2016) A DOCUMENTARY REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

hitler rise and fall

HITLER: THE RISE AND FALL: THE MAN BEHIND THE MONSTER. (2016) A DOCUMENTARY BY STAN GRIFFIN. NARRATED BY CHRISTIEN ANHOLT. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

It took me two nights to watch all two-hundred-and-seventy-eight minutes of this gripping documentary, which amounted to three episodes a night at forty-five minutes each. This was surprisingly manageable, especially as it was the weekend and I was bloody well due a little me-time, lol.

Anyway, the documentary does exactly what it says on the tin, charting Adolf Hitler’s life and- ahem- life’s work from his relatively humble beginnings to his meteoric rise to become ruler of Germany and the Nazi Party, before, well, you know. The war and stuff. All the stuff he did. You know what I mean. We’re not supposed to mention it…

Various Professors of History and assorted academics who’ve nearly all written books on Hitler sit around chatting to camera about what they’ve learned about Hitler over the years and, coupled with the little dramatisations and recreations with actors and actresses going on in the background, it all actually makes for rather thrilling viewing. Here for your delectation is my own interpretation of the facts as presented by HITLER: THE RISE AND FALL. A sort of ‘HITLER FOR DUMMIES,’ if you will.

Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria-Hungary to a civil servant father who brutalised him physically and whom Hitler despised utterly, and a mother who worshipped him but understandably couldn’t protect him from his father’s wrath.

When Alois Hitler- the Dad- passed away in 1903, I doubt if Hitler shed many tears, unlike at the death of his mother four years later, which devastated him. It was the first major blow of his life. Probably the next one was when he was rejected for Art School in Vienna.

Apparently he wasn’t good at drawing people, but wasn’t bad at all at sketching buildings. In fact, he had a lifelong obsession with architecture and was always dreaming up ideas for fabulous buildings and town centres in his mind.

During his last days in the Bunker, while Berlin burned around him and the Russians were within shelling distance of the Reich Chancellery, instead of making plans to save himself and his entourage or to broker a peace deal with the Allies, Hitler fiddled endlessly with a scale model of a town plan of Linz in Austria, which he planned to turn into a cultural capital ‘after the war.’ I wonder when was the exact moment at which he finally realised that there would be no ‘after the war’ for him and his Party…?

Anyway, his special talent was really for public speaking. Boy, could he talk. He could- and did- talk for Germany. After World War One, in which he rather startlingly won an Iron Cross for ‘bravery’ (I always think of him as a bit cowardly, actually), he turned to politics. His early days in the Nazi Party saw him cutting his oratorial teeth on the speeches he made to admiring Party members.

He started to develop his anti-Semitic views around this time and was a real asset to the Nazi Party, which by the way he didn’t ‘found’ but he did join it very early on, when it was still in its infancy.

There’s a disturbing image for you anyway, the Nazi Party as a chubby baby complete with rattle and bonnet being wheeled round the park in an antique stroller by a uniformed Nanny. ‘Take me once round the park, Smithers, I’m feeling fussy…!’

The failed Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 came next, in which Hitler and his pals, including General Ludendorff from WW1, sought to stage a coup that would ultimately challenge the government in Berlin. Hitler was sentenced to five years in prison for his part in the Putsch but served only one, getting out early for, ‘of all things, good behaviour…!’

During his time in Landsberg Prison, Hitler dictated his autobiography, MEIN KAMPF, to his adoring deputy Rudolf Hess. I said dictated, not dedicated, lol. I don’t know if the book ever had the benefit of proper editing but most historians agree that it’s a major snooze.

He waffles a lot in it about his ideas on race and suchlike. They’re not at all what you’d call liberal. Some form of ethnic cleansing is implied. It’s seemingly badly written and a crashing bore, but essential reading, the experts claim, if you want to understand where he got his nutty ideas from or the ‘reasoning’ behind them. I did take it out of the library once, but the endless blocks of dry-as-dust, unbroken-up text made me return it soon after, unread.

After Hitler’s early release from prison, he began work on rebuilding the Nazi Party, which had stood by him throughout his, by all accounts, reasonably cushy incarceration. (There were flowers on the table in that prison cell, ffs…!) It was the Great Depression of 1929 that proved to be the key to Hitler’s later success.

With America demanding back the money they’d loaned Germany to get back on her feet after the punitive terms of the Versailles Treaty, Germany was in trouble financially and ripe for some political agitation from Hitler and the Nazi Party.

A stable, healthy German economy was no use to Hitler. But the recession that followed the Crash of ’29 was the perfect environment for the Nazis to flourish, and flourish they did, by promising the German people the only two things they cared about at this time, ‘ARBEIT UND BROT,’ or ‘WORK AND BREAD.’ They even delivered on their promises sometimes.

The elections of 1932 saw Hitler coming second only to Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934), the elderly President of Germany, who died a mere two years later. Hitler was now becoming established as a political force to be reckoned with.

1933 was even better for Hitler, the funny little man with the toothbrush moustache, poor table manners and queer sense of sartorial style (the top hat and dog whip, seriously?).

He became Chancellor of Germany and, with the aforementioned death of the old President Hindenburg in 1934, Hitler made himself President as well as Chancellor and fixed things so that he couldn’t be removed from office. Dictatorship, anyone?

A lot of stuff happened between 1933 and the start of World War Two that we’ll try to get through quickly. Punitive laws were enforced against the Jews, coming to an explosive head- but by no means ending- on Kristallnacht or The Night Of Broken Glass (November 1938)during which Jewish shops were trashed and their synagogues burned.

In the Irish Jewish Museum here in Dublin, just as a matter of interest, they have on display a piece of a religious scroll saved from a burning synagogue on this terrible night. Hitler was apparently annoyed by the damage to some of Germany’s lovely old buildings during Kristallnacht. Oh dear. How careless of those naughty marauders to damage the buildings.

The Nazi Party brushed Germany’s racial ‘issues’ under the carpet for the duration of the 1936 Olympic Games, which were held in Berlin. Film-maker Leni Riefenstahl, who also incidentally filmed the Olympics, made a movie called TRIUMPH OF THE WILL, about one of the gigantic Nuremberg rallies, that captured all the terrifying glamour and spectacle so beloved of the Nazis. Hitler is represented as a god in this film, literally descending from the clouds in his little aeroplane, the first leader of a country to ever use air travel to his benefit.

During this period also, from 1933 to 1939, ‘enemies’ of the Nazi Party (like the chap who protested that his livelihood had been torn down to make way for lavish extensions to the Berghof, Hitler’s fabulous mountain retreat) were being sent to concentration camps, which already existed. Inmates taken there were supposed to undergo a sort of ‘re-nazification.’ Like the ‘re-Neducation’ in that TREEHOUSE OF HORROR episode of THE SIMPSONS but, like, a million times less fun, obviously.

The dreaded camps were not yet the killing machines some of them ended up being later on when the ‘Final Solution,’ the extermination of the Jews, was properly underway. For now, they were mostly for communists and people who opposed the Nazi ideology. There were eyes and ears everywhere. It was a dangerous time to speak out against the Fuhrer or his Nazi Party.

Hitler became obsessed during this time with the idea of ‘Lebensraum,’ or living space, for the German people. He built up and re-armed the Army that had suffered restrictions as a result of the Versailles Treaty, a humiliating document that had basically ground Germany into the dirt, as Hitler saw it, for having caused World War One.

The reparations Germany had to pay after WW1 were brutally punitive. Hitler metaphorically tore up this hated treaty every time he marched his newly re-armed forces into a different country in yet another stunning land grab, and the people of Germany loved him for it.

He’d united Austria with Nazi Germany without the firing of a single shot. The Austrians welcomed Hitler and his cohorts with open arms and floral tributes. He was like a king when he rode in his car through the flower-strewn streets. It was one of his greatest moments.

Then came his acquisition of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia, Neville Chamberlain and ‘Peace In Our Time,’ and then the ill-fated invasion of Poland which led to Britain and France declaring war on Germany, much to Hitler’s surprise. What do these assholes care about Poland, he was probably thinking, but care they did. It was jolly well a matter of principle, old boy. The war was very much a go…

France fell fairly quickly to the well-oiled Nazi machine. Nazi steamroller, more like. Britain, of course, held out staunchly to the end because Britons never, never, never shall be slaves, of course. Hitler unleashed the full force of the odious, fatly smiling Goering’s Luftwaffe on them but to no avail. Britain was not for turning…

Hitler spent much of the war teaching his beloved Alsatian dog Blondi to do tricks. He also enjoyed eating cake- Hitler, that is, not Blondi, although who knows, maybe the doggie did too- and so he consumed quite a lot of the stuff up in the gorgeous little Teahouse that formed part of his mountainside hideaway in the Berghof, where his long-term mistress Eva Braun resided.

Hitler should have been as fat as a fool, with all the cakes the film-makers show him putting away in this documentary. I got quite peckish for cake, actually, while watching this film, and so a packet of Jaffa cakes may or may not have been sacrificed to the common good on one of the nights…

Dr. Theodore Morell, Hitler’s doctor, gets a mention here as the doctor who put the Fuhrer on a cocktail of drugs to treat his various ailments, real or imagined. Hitler was something of a hypochondriac, but the drugs he was given probably far exceeded his need and would have almost certainly contributed to how divorced from reality he was by the end of the war.

America entered the war in 1941 after the Japanese shockingly attacked Pearl Harbour. Hitler is seen in the documentary film as not taking this news seriously enough. It was a disaster for him, however.

The Americans were mightily pissed off and would stay in the war until the bitter end, until they, in fact, were the victors along with Britain and Hitler’s most hated enemy, Russia. The threat of Bolshevism was as bad, to him, as the threat represented by the Jews.

Hitler’s invasion of Russia was an unmitigated disaster also, resulting in the deaths of millions of Russian soldiers and civilians and German soldiers. Fighting a war of that scale on two fronts was too much for one man, a man who by now wasn’t even living in the real world.

The Holocaust, the wholesale murder of the Jews of Europe in concentration camps, was in full swing by now, with Auschwitz in Poland at the ‘dead’ centre of the operation. The more catastrophic Hitler’s war became for Germany, the more the killing was speeded up, the killing he actually termed ‘humane’ because it was done by gassing rather than other, messier means.

Everyone wants to hear about the Bunker, of course, the ‘good stuff,’ lol, when Hitler moved battalions that no longer really existed around the map from one place to another during the daily situation reports that became more and more fraught. The war was lost. The jig was up. Hitler was pretty much the last person to take this admittedly unpalatable fact on board.

In his last couple of days, he marries Eva Braun, dictates his last Will and Testament to his secretary Traudl Junge and shoots himself while Eva bites down on a cyanide capsule on the couch beside him.

Nearby, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister and long-time toady Joseph Goebbels prepares to follow his Fuhrer even unto death, along with his wife Magda and their six children. Thus, with a gunshot and the hasty burning of two bodies in the Reichchancellery garden, endeth the Third Reich. There’s talk of a Fourth sequel but I don’t know, I think the franchise is pretty much played out, lol.

There’s some really fantastic footage of the players in this iconic real-life drama in HITLER: THE RISE AND FALL. I’d never seen a lot of the footage before and it was gob-smackingly clear and exciting to view.

The historians are pretty good too, my favourites being the super-enthusiastic Emma Craigie, author of HITLER’S LAST DAY: MINUTE BY MINUTE, which I’ve read and enjoyed, and also a chap by the name of Professor Richard Overy. Watch this if you’re a history fan. It’s top-notch stuff.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor