7.5/10
4,638
53 user 65 critic

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director:

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

What do an elderly topiary gardener, a retired lion tamer, a man fascinated by mole rats, and a cutting-edge robotics designer have in common? Both nothing and everything in this ... See full summary »

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Dave Hoover, George Mendonça, Rodney Brooks
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A film about the former US Secretary of Defense and the various difficult lessons he learned about the nature and conduct of modern war.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Robert McNamara, John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Former United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, discusses his career in Washington D.C. from his days as a congressman in the early 1960s to planning the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Donald Rumsfeld, Errol Morris
Documentary | Crime | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Megan Ambuhl Graner, Javal Davis, Ken Davis
Tabloid (2010)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A documentary on a former Miss Wyoming who is charged with abducting and imprisoning a young Mormon Missionary.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Joyce McKinney, Peter Tory, Troy Williams
Documentary | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Early Errol Morris documentary intersplices random chatter he captured on film of the genuinely eccentric residents of Vernon, Florida. A few examples? The preacher giving a sermon on the ... See full summary »

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Albert Bitterling, Roscoe Collins, George Harris
Documentary | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A film that successfully argued that a man was wrongly convicted for murder by a corrupt justice system in Dallas County, Texas.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose
Documentary | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A documentary about a pet cemetery in California, and the people who have pets buried there.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Lucille Billingsley, Zella Graham, Cal Harberts
First Person (TV Series 2000)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Amazing series primarily using Errol Morris' invention the Interrotron for unusual people to tell their outré stories directly into the camera to the viewer. Almost every half-hour ... See full summary »

Stars: Errol Morris, Michael Stone, Charles Butler
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A film about the life and work of the cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, who despite his near total paralysis, is one of the great minds of all time.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Stephen Hawking, Isobel Hawking, Janet Humphrey
The Dark Wind (1991)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A Navajo police officer is mixed up in drug smuggling and murder on the reservation.

Director: Errol Morris
Stars: Lance Baker, Betty C. Barlow, Gary Basaraba
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.

Director: Andrew Jarecki
Stars: Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Himself (as Fred Leuchter)
Robert Jan Van Pelt ...
Himself
David Irving ...
Himself
Caroline Leuchter ...
Herself (voice)
James Roth ...
Himself - Analytical Chemist
Shelly Shapiro ...
Herself
Suzanne Tabasky ...
Herself
Ernst Zündel ...
Himself
David Collins ...
Re-enactment cast
Daniel Polsby ...
Re-enactment cast
Jeff Brown ...
Re-enactment cast
Robert Duerr ...
Re-enactment cast
Edit

Storyline

Documentary about Fred Leuchter, an engineer who became an expert on execution devices and was later hired by revisionist historian Ernst Zundel to "prove" that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. Leuchter published a controversial report confirming Zundel's position, which ultimately ruined his own career. Most of the footage is of Leuchter, puttering around execution facilities or chipping away at the walls of Auschwitz, but Morris also interviews various historians, associates, and neighbors. Written by ccampbell

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

14 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. Death  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$24,125 (USA) (31 December 1999)

Gross:

$495,318 (USA) (24 March 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to A Brief History of Errol Morris (2000), Morris made a rough cut that he showed to colleagues and friends that only had Leuchter interviewed and it was Morris' intention that the audience would understand he was saying things either as lies or flat-out wrong. He was advised to go to Auschwitz and dig deeper so that there would be no doubt for the audience that Leuchter was wrong. See more »

Quotes

Fred A. Leuchter Jr.: The human body is not easy to destroy and it's not east to take a life humanely and painlessly without doing a great deal of damage to the individual's body.
See more »

Connections

Features Electrocuting an Elephant (1903) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Mr. Death
17 May 2006 | by (Greensboro, N.C.) – See all my reviews

This is a documentary that feels like a compressed news broadcast. Errol Morris, the reason why Werner Herzog ate his shoe, makes this documentary about, well, the rise and fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., also known as Mr. Death. During the 70's and 80's, Mr. Leuchter found himself in a successful niche improving upon and creating new machines to implement capital punishment. Though he was not a licensed technician, he sold blueprints and homemade machines to state penitentiaries as well as acted as a consultant on the lethal machines in prisons across the country. Where Mr. Leuchter went awry was when he was contacted to investigate the truthfulness to the claim that Nazis used lethal gas to exterminate thousands of people at concentration camps in Germany and Poland. His research found him knee deep in the ruins of Auschwitz, taking rock samples off the walls of gas chamber rooms to take back to the United States for arsenic analysis. His research turned up no traces of cyanide in the wall samples nor evidence of the structural integrity of the supposed gas chambers to safely contain the gases. He presented his findings to the trial of Ernst Zundel, a holocaust denier on trial in Canada for publishing documents refuting the Holocaust ever occurred, and was successively outcast from society as a fellow Holocaust denier. Through Morris' ninety minute film, we are shown the relative success of a man quickly sink to the bottom of the world's hating order through the publication of one research project. Mr. Leuchter is portrayed as objectively as possible in this film, sometimes even going to black while his voice continues, but the sheer tenacity of this man makes me grit my teeth with rage when I think of him. His lack of concern for human life and the sufferings of others and his ambivalence towards people as both models of death and financial gain is a horrifying example of what kinds of people do what kinds of things in this world. The movie was well made with nice interludes of beautifully shot slow motion 35mm as well as video footage from trials, video from Leuchter's own research in the tombs of Auschwitz, and the interviews of Leuchter sitting and talking about his work as calmly as a dove coos.


15 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
No traces of cyanide oprescue999
Where is he now? rattbuttimus
Just plain stupid zumwildenhirsch
That poor little man sjhugo17
Thoughts on how using a score,etc in a doc effects audience perception fullmetaledges
Great Movie! monabelluci

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?