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The Nuremberg trials were of such monumental historical importance and so complex as to make their dramatization in a two hour film a daunting task. Nonetheless, the film makers did a good job of abbreviating the history of the trials, touching on major benchmarks, examining many of the moral questions, regurgitating the horrors of the holocaust, and featuring key characters. While not a great film, "Nuremberg" is a worthy effort, a good history lesson for young people, and an interesting watch for all. Kudos to Cox for a superb portrayal of Hermann Göring.
Some of the other comments suggest that this is a remake of JUDGMENT AT
NUREMBERG. It is not. JUDGMENT was fiction. The characters were the
creation of the writer. A good piece of work, yes. But not a
representation of the facts of the major first trial. (In fact, JUDGMENT
clearly set up as one of the subsequent trials.)
NUREMBERG, on the other hand, is a dramatization of the real, first trial, and the characters (with some exceptions) are named after the real people and much of the dialogue is taken from the record.
Those who complain about the Nazis being drawn three-dimensionally miss the point -- it is too easy to view Nazis as a vicious breed apart. What is disturbing is that, in recognizing those aspects of these people we share, we recognize that we, too, under certain circumstances, have the capacity for evil. Recognizing this possibility keeps us alert so that we have better defenses against slipping over the line.
When I saw Alec Baldwin was behind this project, I have to confess I had
some doubts as to what to expect. Having seen and reflected on "Nuremberg",
I have to credit the scope, accuracy and impact of the presentation. The
first hour -- leading up the trial -- was fast-paced, gripping and certain
to draw the viewer into the full four hours. The trial, it seemed to me,
bogged down the endeavor, but maybe this is just the reality of
Two points detracted from the overall effectiveness of the show: The producers' decision to put a romantic element into the script, and Baldwin's acting performance. To me, he came off as pristine, above the fray, holier-than-thou and so subdued in spots as to get lost. This style worked OK in some scenes, but in others key dialogue and the impact of the lead character were overshadowed by the support players.
Most of the support was superior; Brian Cox as Goehring ought to get an Emmy and Matt Craven as the psychologist was just a half-step behind. I found the characterizations of the Nazi criminals much more realistic than the depictions of parallel characters in 1961's "Judgment at Nuremberg". Overall, this was an effective and important show. The direction and casting were superior, the script was on target and the look and feel worked. A more abrupt ending might have helped such a jolting piece of history.
"Nuremberg" is a faithful dramatization of the Nuremberg war crimes trial of 1945-46. The cast is strong, although Alec Baldwin's portrayal of the chief prosecutor often lacks the passion that is needed. Brian Cox gives a superb performance in the role of Goering. In all, it is a solid history lesson that should be repeated often to future generations.
I just watched this movie and for people that believe that the Nazis got what was comming to them is wrong. It was war. Soldiers did follow orders. I saw this sad tale of a trial, putting German Soldiers on trial for crimes against humanity but I was curious as why the Allied Powers were never brought to justice for the devestation of non militarily important cities in Germany. War crimes were committed on both sides. Germany wasnt the only power that had blood on her hands. The United States and Soviet Union were guilty of crimes as well and no one was even brought to justice. Otherwise, the film is excellent. I suggest you see it.
The horrors of the Holocaust are revisited in this fine made-for-cable movie. Alec Baldwin stars as Justice Robert Jackson, the lead prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. The fine cast includes Jill Hennessy (Law & Order), Christopher Plummer, and Max Von Sydow, but the English actor shines brightest as Hermann Goering. Cox portrays Goering as a devoted office of the Reich who was simply following Hitler's orders. There are several chilling scenes between Goering and the military officer assigned to protect him, where the officer begins to sympathy for his prisoner. All in all, an important and moving film.
I did not expect this to be as good as it was. When I first heard about
Alec Baldwin's plans to make this, my worst fears were that it would be
trite and overdone--a miniseries on TNT, about a subject that's been done to
death. The temptation to "TV-ize" the trials at Nuremberg must have been
huge. After all, there was a very successful movie done on this in the
1960s, there have been a ton of books written, and the Nazis are everybody's
But this miniseries has rich depth and vivid texture that will astonish you. And the performances will take your breath away.
First off, Baldwin is nearly perfect as Justice Robert Jackson, the esteemed Supreme Court judge handpicked by President Truman to lead the entire War Crimes trial process. Fiery when he needs to be, controlled when he has to be, Baldwin sets the tone for every performance in this film, and even has Jackson's look and mannerisms down pat. Baldwin wanted to be a lawyer when he was younger, and his passion for politics and the law shine through his eyes and drive his characterization. It's easily the best work Baldwin has done in years, and should net him an Emmy nomination this time next year.
Second, Brian Cox as Hermann Goering is nothing less than brilliant. Cox draws you in to Goering's deluded world, and he will have you staring in rapt fascination as he demonstrates the true depths of evil--"the absence of empathy," as the Army psychiatrist observes. Cox also apparently spent a great deal of time studying Goering's mannerisms and voice inflections, because there are times you will swear you are watching colorized footage of the original trial. He is just outstanding.
The rest of the cast is solid--Matt Craven as Captain Gilbert, the Army psychologist assigned to watch the prisoners and give them an outlet so that they don't commit suicide before the trial is over; Herbert Knaup as Albert Speer, the Nazi architect horrified by what his country has done and eager to convince his colleagues to admit the truth to save Germany from utter ruin; Jill Hennessey as Elsie Douglas, Jackson's devoted personal assistant; Christopher Plummer as David Maxwell-Fyfe, lead British prosecutor. There's been a lot of criticism for including the story of Jackson and Douglas' love affair, which really did happen, but its inclusion helps keep this film from becoming just another rehash of the Nuremberg trials.
There is one moment in the miniseries worth a specific mention: The playing of the concentration camp film footage in the courtroom for all to see. Over the years, we've all seen these films so many times that it's easy to become desensitized to them. But in 1945, NO ONE had seen this footage before, and every participant manages to convey the shock of these incredibly graphic films convincingly. The dialogueless scene is as chilling as the gruesome images contained therein.
I hope this merits a video release, as it's one I want to own for future viewings. And Alec Baldwin definitely has a future as a producer should he ever decide to retire from life in front of the camera.
Yes, the story of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal needs to be told so that
it's never forgotten. Yes, this miniseries provides a dignified and
multifaceted retelling. But it isn't quite the masterpiece it should have
been. Alec Baldwin is adequate as white knight Bob Jackson, Brian Cox is
impressive as king-in-exile Hermann Goering, but neither are particularly
compelling. What could have been a powerful character study and an
exploration of the nature of evil ends up becoming a rote-by-rote
reenactment of the events.
The story itself is powerful enough, but the screenplay doesn't try to take it in any new directions. It too-quickly dismisses Nazism as mere lies and propaganda, only hinting at the darker implication that it might have been the horrific yet inevitable end-product of a century of Eurocentrism, of which all Western nations were guilty to some degree. Only half-heartedly in the last quarter or so does it question whether the Allies pushed for the trials to assuage their own guilt. The still-lingering question about the motivations for the trials in the first place - to establish justice for the world at large or to mask the hypocrisy of the victors? - is barely explored. The film is content to draw the lines of good and bad with bold strokes.
The biggest impacts are made by two supporting characters. The first is the Jewish army psychologist, who struggles with rage at what the Nazis did to his people and the clinical desire to understand them. His analysis of their motivations provides no easy answers (were there any?). The other is the young American soldier who befriends Goering. Drawn to his magnetic personality, he listens to his words and begins to believe them, providing a chilling lesson that evil doesn't die with the man who preaches it.
The film also makes pivotal use of actual concentration camp footage. After fifty years those grainy haunting images are still just as horrifying. They serve as reminders of what happened there and what the Nuremberg trials attempted to ensure would never happen again. It's a lesson that's too-often overlooked. * - 3.5 of 5
TNT is to be applauded for tackling this difficult subject.
I appreciate the attempt to depict the trial as historically accurate. The result is a flawed, yet better-than-average mini-series. Brian Cox gave a memorable, nuanced performance, and Christopher Plumber was charming as always (although I doubt they had tanning beds in the post-WWII era). I would have preferred a different actor in the role of Robert Jackson, one older with a more expressive acting style, and I felt that the weight given to the adulterous relationship was excessive. But it held my attention and had some very compelling moments.
There's a lot of positive things to say about NUREMBERG (see the section for teachers in its official web site. It is all true, as a history lesson, from the North American and perhaps British viewpoint.) However, presenting the material as a virtual North American experience, for ease of comprehension is risky, and ultimately palatable only to the most die-hard history fans, and young students. While it is imperative to teach the new generations about these atrocities, whether it is worth doing so at the expense of realism is questionable. The audience should not remember these Nazis as eloquent, smooth-talking American English speakers in lederhosen and impeccable, pressed elegant uniforms, acting just as the gurus of young American soldiers should. Also, being tried in what is obviously Quebec, with no credible non-North American character (other than the Albert Speer character, played by the sole German actor)is a stretch. The French and Russian judges are pretty much dismissed from the plot (mercifully so as they are as completely miscast)The Russian Judge/General also speaks fluent American English. The director could have at least dubbed the Not Guilty (Nicht Schuldig) pleas of the Nazi defendants, all but two delivered in laughably bad German accents. Yes for the desired impact on the masses who watch TNT, these 'revisions' may be necessary. However, in so doing, the veracity and authenticity of the whole matter are ultimately sacrificed. For anyone who speaks German, or has been to Quebec, these adjustments all but destroy the good points brought up in Nuremberg. The series serves its purpose for elementary, maybe junior high students from rural areas or the provinces, or as belated adult education class for someone in limbo the last few decades. And then, only for those who speak English. As the (very un-Russian looking and speaking) Soviet Judge keeps repeating: 20 million of my people were killed. Indeed, the vast majority of the descendants of the victims of the atrocities depicted in NUREMBERG will in no way benefit from this Anglophone, actually North American-skewed view of events.
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