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Mother Night (1996)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance, War  |  1 November 1996 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 4,106 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 29 critic

An American spy behind the lines during WWII serves as a Nazi propagandist, a role he cannot escape in his future life as he can never reveal his real role in the war.

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(novel) (as Kurt Vonnegut) , (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Bernard Behrens ...
Reverend Dr. Lionel Jones
Anna Berger ...
Epstein's Mother
...
Dr. Abraham Epstein
Norman Rodway ...
Werner Noth
...
Robert Sterling Wilson
...
Father Patrick Keeley
...
August Krapptauer
...
...
Anthony J. Robinow ...
Prison Warden
Michael McGill ...
Prison Official
Shimon Aviel ...
Guard Bernard Liebman
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Storyline

Howard W. Campbell, Jr., an American expatriate playwright, Nazi radio propagandist, and Allied spy, writes his memoirs during his pre-trial confinement in 1961 Haifa and learns that people are what they pretend to be. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

american | spy | germany | nazi | neo nazi | See All (191) »

Taglines:

Be careful what you pretend to be. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

1 November 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Confessione finale  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$48,661 (USA) (1 November 1996)

Gross:

$392,362 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character Howard W. Campbell Jr. is used by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. in the novel Slaughterhouse Five, and makes an appearance in the movie of the same name, although in reference to a part of Campbell's life not included in the film version of Mother Night. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prison Warden: Do you prefer German or English?
Howard W. Campbell Jr.: English.
Prison Warden: You are to write down your memoirs for the Haifa Institute For The Documentation of War Criminals. You have three weeks to complete your memoirs before your trial begins. Do you have any questions?
Howard W. Campbell Jr.: No, this is great. Thanks for everything.
See more »

Connections

References The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

Tabula Rasa
Composed by Arvo Pärt
Performed by Gidon Kremer, Tatiana Grindenko and 'Alfred Shnitke' (as Alfred Schnittke)
ECM New Series 1275
Courtesy of ECM Records
Used by arrangement with European America Music Dist. Corp., Agent for Universal Edition Vienna,
publisher and copyright holder
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wartime Allied undercover operative suffers the consequences of his deception, in the process discovering something about himself and about justice.
15 December 2003 | by (Ann Arbor, MI) – See all my reviews

It's so rare to find a literary work adequately translated to the screen that I may have rated this film higher than it deserves, but not by much. As a long-time student of Vonnegut's works, I have no hesitation in recommending the film to his readers, at least to those that love him as I do. The casting is inspired: Nolte is understated in triumph, bewildered in defeat, decisive in judgment. Sheryl Lee is luscious throughout, but her handling of the treacherous Resi and her tragic crescendo almost makes you forget her beauty. Alan Arkin delivers a totally lovable, but equally treacherous, Soviet spy.

Do not feel you have to read Mother Night to appreciate the film; though, if you haven't read Mother Night, you will probably want to after viewing the film.

Notice the shifts from color to black-and-white and back again, and don't miss the final symbolism of Campbell's noose. Watch, also, for Kurt Vonnegut's cameo near the end of the film.

Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" will never sound the same (I write in mid-December, when the song is getting heavy radio play, and it's driving me nuts).


30 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Fans of Vonnegut literature greggveka
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