IMDb > Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)
Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

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

Photos (See all 10 | slideshow) Videos
Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. -- A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Overview

User Rating:
7.5/10   4,225 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 5% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Contact:
View company contact information for Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 January 2000 (USA) See more »
Plot:
A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
4 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
It's not what I found, but what I didn't find that blew me away. See more (50 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)
Fred A. Leuchter Jr. ... 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
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Adolf Hitler ... Himself - Leaves Plane (archive footage) (uncredited)

Errol Morris ... Himself - Interviewer (voice) (uncredited)
Create a character page for: ?

Directed by
Errol Morris 
 
Produced by
Dorothy Aufiero .... producer
David Collins .... producer
Errol Morris .... producer
David Schisgall .... associate producer: Tennessee/Malden
Jonathan Sehring .... executive producer
John Sloss .... executive producer
Kathy Trustman .... producer: Tennessee/Malden
Michael Williams .... producer
Caroline Kaplan .... executive producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Caleb Sampson 
 
Cinematography by
Peter Donahue 
 
Film Editing by
Karen Schmeer 
 
Production Design by
Ted Bafaloukos 
 
Art Direction by
Steven McNulty 
 
Production Management
Katarzyna Fukacz-Cebula .... production manager: Poland (as Katarzyna Fukacz)
Mark Hankey .... unit production manager: Tennessee/Malden
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Marek Cydorowicz .... assistant director: Poland
David Vos .... first assistant director
 
Art Department
Artur Bartos .... props: Poland
Inka Bodyl .... props: Poland
Michael Cataldo .... prop master
Jay Heyman .... props assistant
Alasdair McLellan .... art department assistant
Kenji Messenger .... carpenter
Heidi Pribell .... shopper
Adie Russell .... graphic artist
Peter Ryan .... art department assistant
Lisa Sawlit .... graphic artist
 
Sound Department
Coll Anderson .... supervising sound editor
Stephen Bores .... sound mixer (as Steve Bores)
Stephen Bores .... sound: Tennessee/Malden (as Steve Bores)
Brian Bowles .... dialogue editor
Andrew Bracken .... sound effects recordist (as Drew Bracken)
Fred Burnham .... additional sound
Mario Cardenas .... additional sound (as Mario Cardenes)
Maria Chilarecka .... sound mixer: Poland
Eric A. Christoffersen .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Patrick Dundas .... sound effects editor
Frank Morrone .... sound re-recording mixer (as Frank Morroni)
Bob Olari .... sound recordist
Pam Yates .... sound: Tennessee/Malden
 
Visual Effects by
Philip Azenzer .... video effects (as Phil Azenzer)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Karine Albano .... electrician (as Karin Albano)
Martin Albert .... key grip
Nubar Alexanian .... still photographer
Ron Bennett .... generator operator
Carlos Bermudez .... best boy electric
Carlos Bermudez .... best boy: Tennessee/Malden
Sergiusz Bogucki .... best boy electric: Poland
Jan Burgess .... additional camera loader
Dave Cambria .... videographer (as David Cambria)
Phil Darrell .... gaffer: Tennessee/Malden (as Phillip Darrell)
Melissa R. Donovan .... assistant camera: Tennessee/Malden (as Melissa Donovan)
Thomas Doran .... key grip: Tennessee/Malden (as Tom Doran)
Michael Guerra .... gaffer
Piotr Hermanowski .... electrician: Poland
Jeffrey Iwanicki .... video assist operator
Artur Kapala .... video assist operator: Poland
John R. Kaplan .... grip: Tennessee/Malden (as John Kaplan)
Tom Keenan .... electrician (as Thomas Keenan)
Patrick Kelly .... second assistant camera
Ian Kincaid .... gaffer: Tennessee/Malden
Len Levine .... gaffer: Poland
Edward Makówka .... additional second assistant camera: Poland
David Puopolo .... generator operator
Robert Ragozzine .... first assistant camera (as Robert Ragazzine)
Henryk Redosz .... key grip: Poland
Robert Richardson .... additional photographer
Dave Rudolph .... grip (as David Rudolph)
Daisy Smith .... second assistant camera: Poland
James Smith .... camera loader
Marek Socha .... electrician: Poland
Peter Sova .... photographer: Leuchter interview
Ryszard Switalski .... electrician: Poland
Roman Taborski .... electrician: Poland
Robert Tompkins .... best boy grip
Mark Tye .... electrician: Tennessee/Malden (as Mark A. Tye)
Waldemar Walczynski .... best boy grip: Poland
Henryk Wingert .... generator operator: Poland
Eric Zimmerman .... first assistant camera: Poland
Zach Lazar .... generator operator (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Janet Generalli .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Anshul Amar .... contributing editor
Schuyler Cayton .... assistant editor
Don Ciana .... color timer
Brad Fuller .... consulting editor
Jane Gray .... assistant editor
Paula Heredia .... consulting editor
Molly O'Brien .... contributing editor
Ann Petrone .... assistant editor
Joe Violante .... laboratory advisor
Charles Herzfeld .... film lab coordinator (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Huck Bennert .... music recording engineer
Donald Berman .... musician: piano on "Sublime"
Greg Devore .... music recording supervisor
Terry Donahue .... musician: accordion and percussion
Hawthorne Quartet .... musician: strings
John Kusiak .... composer: additional music
John Kusiak .... music producer
John Kusiak .... musician: synthesizer
Billy Novick .... musician: clarinet
Caleb Sampson .... musician: synthesizer
Ken Winokur .... musician: percussion
 
Other crew
Brian Albushies .... accountant
Eric Asch .... intern (as Erich Asch)
James Barnes .... craft service
Craig Bernheart .... production assistant
Mark Boulos .... assistant: Errol Morris
Paul Brennan .... production consultant
Jeff Brown .... production assistant
Schuyler Cayton .... production assistant
Clint Collins .... location manager
Karen Corsica .... assistant to producers
Jeremy Dawson .... title designer
Lynn DeLacy .... intern
Peter J. Dowd Jr. .... intern (as Peter Dowd)
Luke Fischbeck .... intern
Sam Folk-Williams .... intern
Dina Hazan .... intern
Stacie Heintze .... script supervisor
Jennifer Kelly .... production assistant
Jeremy Kleiner .... intern
Linda Klicker .... intern
Steven Lamola .... researcher
Wieslaw Lysakowski .... location manager: Poland
Atim Macauley .... intern
Agnieska Nejman .... production assistant: Poland
Malve O'Meara .... production coordinator (as Maeve O'Meara)
Myles Paige .... intern
Ann Petrone .... production coordinator
Daniel Polsby .... assistant: Errol Morris
Matt Pursley .... digital film scanning and recording
Nicholas Ravich .... researcher
Nicholas M. Robbins .... production assistant (as Nicholas Robbins)
Reid Rosefelt .... publicist
Mary Ryan .... production coordinator: Tennessee/Malden
Ariel Enriquez Saulog .... digital film scanning and recording (as Ariel E. Saulog)
Dan Schrecker .... title designer
Isaac Silverglate .... intern
Derek Skaletsky .... production assistant
John Sloss .... production consultant
Marielle Smith .... intern
Wojtek Smolen .... representative: Ausschwitz museum, Poland
Dia Sokol Savage .... intern (as Dia Sokol)
Anne Hawley Stevens .... intern
Justyna Stolarz .... interpreter: Poland
Robert Jan Van Pelt .... consultant: Auschwitz
James White .... digital film scanning and recording
Kellyanne Willis .... intern
Kristina Wood .... researcher
Darren Yesser .... production assistant
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Mr. Death" - USA (short title)
See more »
MPAA:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements
Runtime:
91 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
All of the states which bought one of Leuchter's lethal injection machines have subsequently stopped using them because they were too difficult to operate and maintain.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 »
Movie Connections:
Features Triumph of the Will (1935)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
36 out of 49 people found the following review useful.
It's not what I found, but what I didn't find that blew me away., 28 October 2001
Author: (jdtippitisit@yahoo.com) from Houston, TX

This documentary presents the story of the rise and fall of Fred Leuchter, an apparently self-taught engineer specializing in the repair and fabrication of instruments of capital punishment. His choice to develop evidence to deny the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz, Poland causes a descent into villainy and subsequent ostracism from his clients and his wife.

Several of Leuchter's detractors are interviewed in the film and vilify him as an anti-Semite and a perpetrator of a cruel hoax. His supporters portray him as the second coming of Christ and a man worthy of equal footing with George Washington. If Leuchter actually was aware of his place in the events that led to his downfall, then one could assume he falls somewhere between the two extremes. But this film amply demonstrates that in many ways, Fred in a class by himself.

This little man from Massachusetts grew up around the prison where his father worked, and he saw the daily life of both inmates and guards. He came to see both groups as his friends, and later in his life he chose to research ways to make execution equipment safer and more humane, not only for the inmates being executed, but also for the guards that have to deal with the psychologically disturbing business of execution.

Over time, he became prominent in his field, and was recognized as perhaps the only expert in the United States on repairing and building execution devices. It was this expertise that drew the attention of holocaust denier Ernst Zundel, who was on trial in Canada for publishing a document entitled "Did Six Million Really Die?", which the government of Canada argued was published with deliberate lies about Nazi execution of Jews. Leuchter was approached as an expert on execution and was asked to journey to Auschwitz to develop evidence to disprove that the crematories at that most infamous of concentration camps was used as execution chambers.

It is here that the mystery of Fred Leuchter begins. In the film, a holocaust denier relates a conversation he had with Leuchter in which he had asked Fred about his illegal and highly distasteful excavations at Auschwitz. Leuchter replied, "It wasn't what I found, but what I didn't find that blew me away." It is this statement that rings in my head when I try to examine Fred Leuchter's actions. Why didn't he think about what was being asked of him? Why didn't he see this inquiry in the larger scale of the history of the Second World War, and indeed in the history of civilization? Since he was so deliberate and so thoughtful in his research in to execution equipment, why did he not research the subject of the gas chambers at Auschwitz more thoroughly? Journalist Van Pelt explains that all he had to do was examine the archives at the camp to discover a wealth of information that the Nazis put together about the subject of the "gassing basements". Leuchter obviously understood nothing about the subject of chemistry (an absolutely necessary discipline to begin addressing the presence of cyanide on the bricks of the camp), and yet he took the job of disproving the existence of gas chambers. Why?

This is the area where Errol Morris' skill as a documentarian really shines. He shows Fred lurching around at various white supremacist meetings to discuss the findings of his report, apparently unaware of agenda he was sent to justify. As a thoughtful and deliberate man, he came to the conclusion that the chambers at Auschwitz could not have been used as execution chambers, but obviously uses his own narrow view point to reach that conclusion, since (in his opinion) if he had designed such a device for mass execution he would not have built it that way. He doesn't understand that he was pushed to present a certain result, and that the individuals that wanted justification for their viewpoints were not to be trusted. Morris lets us see all the swirling action around Leuchter, and demonstrates that Leuchter himself was unable or unwilling to see his place in the madness surrounding the trial, as well as demonstrating that Fred couldn't fully understand why state governments were suddenly unwilling to deal with him, killing his business as an execution engineer.

Leuchter's detractors took pains to ruin his life which, in a country that thrives on free speech and the open expression of ideas, is as shameful an act as Leuchter's own foolish holocaust denial. But an interviewee stated eloquently in the film that Fred had the chance to retract his statements. Fred at any time could have limited his involvement with the project. He should have conducted his investigation in the full light of day rather than slinking around a vitally important historical site, chopping up pieces of what many consider a holy shine to the lives of those callously murdered there. He could have done many things that any rational and considerate person should have done.

But he didn't.

Morris' film is one of the best examinations of a person's life committed to film. Highly recommended.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (50 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
No traces of cyanide oprescue999
That poor little man sjhugo17
Ernst Zundel MemberDismember
Where is he now? rattbuttimus
These threads... drsterngreene
Fred where is he now and patpettite
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Paragraph 175 Mother Night Anne Frank Remembered Terror's Advocate Fateless
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Documentary section IMDb UK section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.