A dramatic reconstruction of the July 1944 attempt by German Army Officers to assassinate Hitler with a bomb and end the war before Germany was totally destroyed. Written by
Patrick Dominick <email@example.com>
Fast moving film is as about as straight as you can get it
This is one of famed director Pabst's final films and is available under the title "Jackboot Mutiny" although it is actually titled "It Happened on July 20th." Anyway, as a film it is more or less a docudrama, with little characterization or style. It looks like it could've been directed by any hack, much less the renown G.W. Pabst. Expect nothing stylish or atmospheric, cinematically, but do expect an expert re-telling of the events that unfolded on that day that a cabal of German officers attempted to kill Hitler and end the war. I've checked the details the film includes and they are right on the money. Much of the dialogue is lifted straight from historical records and there are no fictional characters added. The actor playing Goebbels looks much like him and the film intelligently dispenses with presenting an on-camera Hitler, therefore eliminating the obvious distraction. Wicki plays the true-life hero Stauffenberg and is excellent. An interesting opportunity to see one of Germany's most capable post-WW2 directors acting for a change (Wicki directed the outstanding film 'The Bridge' and also helmed the German sections of 'The Longest Day.') The weaknesses of this film include the lack of suspense and hysteria inherent in the enterprise of killing Hitler and trying to take over the German state. That's a heck of a story and it is told honestly, but without any dramatic oomph. It is also confusing, and with a running time of only 74 minutes, it certainly could have spent a little extra time sorting some things out. As it is, you can't make out at times who is who and doing what. That may be historically accurate but it is unhelpful to a viewer walking in on this story. Still, as a piece of history it is educational and, as I mentioned before it is a rather short film, so it moves very fast without a single slow moment.
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