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