The story of Helmut and Karl Hoffmann. Both come of age at the start of Hitler's power in Germany. Helmut joins the SS and eventually becomes a successful flag rank officer. Karl joins the ... See full summary »
The story of Helmut and Karl Hoffmann. Both come of age at the start of Hitler's power in Germany. Helmut joins the SS and eventually becomes a successful flag rank officer. Karl joins the SA and experiences the darker side of Nazism after the SA is disbanded and Karl is thrown into prison and later conscripted into the German army. Brother is pitted against brother until their relationship, and the Third Reich, stands in ruins Written by
Anthony Hughes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When Becker (Helmutt Hoffman's friend) begins wearing a Waffen-SS grey uniform, he has the collar insignia of a Hauptsturmführer (Captain) while at the same time wears the shoulder boards of an Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel). See more »
Absorbing study of two brothers with opposing viewpoints in Nazi Germany...
Handsomely produced TV film is an ambitious project in that it follows the rise of the Third Reich while telling the story of a German family, in particular, two brothers (BILL NIGHY and JOHN SHEA) who are swept into the wartime problems when the oldest joins the SS in 1931 and becomes a good Nazi (until he sees the scope of the horror) and the other eventually joins because he's under the illusion that he can change things from the inside.
Although it covers a span of '33 to '45, none of the actors age noticeably, the one weakness in an otherwise carefully detailed production.
This is not the first time this sort of subject has been handled. A less epic, more narrowly focused melodrama of two brothers with opposing viewpoints was made in the 1940s (UNDERGROUND - 1941) with JEFFREY LYNN and PHILIP DORN as German brothers taking opposite viewpoints of the wartime philosophy and directed by Vincent Sherman. Although it was a well done melodrama, it did not attempt to get the full flavor of the Third Reich and its various operations as this film does.
JOHN SHEA is especially impressive as the brother who speaks his mind against some of the Nazi practices and at one point even ends up for awhile in Dachau, the concentration camp. The other brother manages to get him released but there are still many trials and tribulations for both of them before the film reaches a dramatic climax. CARROL BAKER does a nice job as a worried German mother.
David WARNER is impressive as Reinhard Heydrich, the sarcastic and brutal Nazi officer who gets his comeuppance before the war is over. All of the performances are first rate and the story covers a good deal of actual history without ever losing track of its main characters.
Absorbing stuff, lengthy, but well worth watching.
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