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 »
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 »
In the 1950s, a teenage Werner Herzog was transfixed by a film performance of the young Klaus Kinski. Years later, they would share an apartment where, in an unabated, 48 hour fit of rage, ... See full summary »
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
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 »
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.
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A distinctive presentation of fascinating material
Leuchter is an expert in execution technology (designer of electric chairs, gas chambers, etc.), whose career was wiped out when he got swept up in the Holocaust revisionism movement (he testified, as an expert witness in a defamation suit, that the Auschwitz crematoria could not and did not serve as gas chambers). In this vivid documentary, Morris lets Leuchter speak for himself (which reveals him to be a man of limited horizons with a - let's say
quirky moral code, likely undone by hubris rather than evil [although
Morris may deliberately be making that as far as possible an eye-of-the-beholder issue]), while providing a blizzard of visual accompaniments that emphasize the lurid raw material of Leuchter's life (a strategy indicated by the B-movie undertone of the title), and flirt with his obvious sense of his own heroism. Leuchter has more than enough rope here to hang himself, and pretty much gets the job done. Morris doesn't try to explore the issue of Holocaust revisionism generally, pretty much taking our revulsion on faith: if anything, from my limited previous reading on the subject, that's doing Leuchter a favor. Anyway, revulsion or not, it's hard not to be fascinated by a man who can calmly chatter about his value-pricing approach to selling death machines (although custom made, he tells us, they're sold at "off the shelf" prices).
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