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Hitler's S.S.: Portrait in Evil (1985)

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 »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Karl Hoffmann
...
Helmut Hoffmann
Lucy Gutteridge ...
Mitzi Templer (nightclub singer)
...
...
Becker (SS assistant to Dietrich)
...
Stratford Johns ...
Uncle Walter (bartender)
Robert Urquhart ...
Albrecht Hoffman
...
Prof. Ludwig Rosenberg
...
Gerda Hoffman
...
John Normington ...
Derek Newark ...
Theodor Eicke
...
Gen. Josef Biegler, SA
...
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Storyline

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 <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

brother | third reich | hitler | ss | nazis | See All (38) »

Taglines:

Brother is pitted against brother under the shadow of the Third Reich.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

17 February 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hitler SS: El retrato del mal  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Reinhard Heydrich leaves Berlin to take up a new posting as Nazi Governor of Bohemia and Moravia (Czechoslovakia), a scene follows where Helmut Hoffmann is told "You'd better hope Himmler has a job for you, or you'll find yourself fighting Russians." This is in reference to the practice of the SS where General-SS members, without active assignments, would transfer to the Waffen-SS as military reservists. Interestingly, in the subsequent scene set a year later after Heydrich's assassination, Helmut is shown wearing a Waffen-SS tunic complete with combat and service awards from the Eastern Front, thus implying that he *did* find himself fighting Russians. See more »

Goofs

At the very end of the film, Helmutt meets his brother Karl in a Berlin bar. Karl says, "Bring my friend the Hauptsturmführer a large schnapps!" At this point in the movie, Helmutt holds the SS rank of Oberführer, not Hauptsturmführer. See more »

Quotes

Karl Hoffmann: You can probably remember when Bismark was Chancellor!
Uncle Walter: That's right, I can. And we didn't have songs to honor pimps then, either.
Karl Hoffmann: The "Horst Wessel"? What are you talking about, Horst Wessel was killed in a fight with the Communists back in '30.
Uncle Walter: I don't care if he was killed by a troupe of performing monkeys. He was still a pimp then, all the same!
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Soundtracks

Wenn die Soldaten,
sung on train to the Night of the Long Knives
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Absorbing study of two brothers with opposing viewpoints in Nazi Germany...
3 January 2007 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

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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