"ITV Saturday Night Theatre" The Death of Adolf Hitler (TV Episode 1973) Poster

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4 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
7/10
Since surpassed
John Seal22 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Produced by London Weekend Television, The Death of Adolf Hitler stars Frank Finlay as the titular madman and re-creates the final days in the Berlin bunker. In 1973 this was groundbreaking stuff, but in the wake of Bruno Ganz's performance in Downfall (2004), it now looks fairly pallid in comparison. The cast are uniformly excellent, but their crisp and plummy BBC accents are jarring. Even though the decision to eschew stereotypical 'movie German' was exemplary, it's still odd to hear the word 'leader' spoken in place of the familiar 'fuhrer' time and time again. The budgetary choice to shoot the film on video also mars the proceedings. Overall, however, this is still worth a look, especially for Ed Devereaux's simpering performance as lick-spittle Martin Bormann.
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9/10
Finlay brilliant in black satire
Ipsissimus2 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In what might be the strangest film ever made about the Nazi regime, Frank Finlay gives an absolutely devastating performance as Adolf Hitler in the final ten days of his insane life. This made for television movie has been mis-labeled a "drama"; in fact, it is a satire of incredibly dark wit. In terms of the events which transpired, it more or less accurately depicts Hitler's last days in the Berlin bunker, when Germany's loss of the war was certain. Where the film deviates from accuracy is in the discussions the crazed Hitler had with his loyal and not so loyal followers. Finlay's Hitler is constantly asking his underlings, "Are you mad?" while he himself is obviously the most insane occupant of the bunker, flying into towering, hysterical rages at the drop of a hat while his followers calmly look on. At one point Hitler reacts to Goering's betrayal of him with one of the most hilarious depictions of a raving madman ever put on film (or in this case videotape). The dialogue by Vincent Tilsley is brilliant in its bitter irony and sarcasm. The supporting cast is good, but their function is mainly as a target of Finlay's furious outbursts, rambling monologues, and biting sarcasm; at one point one of Hitler's generals claims to be "Just a simple soldier", to which Hitler retorts, "Simple yes, soldier no." This movie is Finlay's show, and he's absolutely superb at depicting Hitler's basic insanity and hatred of the world, and his helpless fury as he watches his "thousand year Reich" go down in flames.
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The best Hitler movie I have ever seen
dtucker8611 October 2001
This outstanding English film was only shown on American TV once in 1983. I am stationed in Germany and was lucky enough to find it at a video store here. Frank Finlay has got to be the scariest Adolf Hitler ever! He captures all of the evil and madness that was Hitler. There was another movie about Hitler's last days that appeared on American TV in 1981 called The Bunker where Anthony Hopkins played Hitler (he won an Emmy for it). Hopkins was good, Finlay is unforgettable. His performance haunted me for years after I saw the film. The scene that got me was where Hitler has a delusion that he is back in the Vienna sewers of his youth and keeps talking about getting rid of the rats. This amazing actor certainly deserves to be better known. He was also the scariest Marley's ghost that I have ever seen in the 1984 tv version of A Christmas Carol where George C. Scott played Scrooge.
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10/10
Last days of the Third Reich
Modern Man10 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
One stormy night in the 1980's I tuned-in to the BBC's production of "The Death of Adolf Hitler" on PBS and pushed record on my VCR. What followed was nothing short of brilliant. Like the other reviewer stated this production was filled with dark humor and sarcastic pathos, like when Hitler abruptly stops his rambling monologue in mid sentence and, like evidently numerous times in the last few panic stricken days, exits to a side room, one of his unimpressed generals dryly intones "I do believe he's gone to pray." Or when he's vehemently condemning Goring in absentia to a crowded room "I always knew Goring wanted to be the first lady of Germany. What I didn't realize was he wanted to be the first man as well! You will obey him while he paints his toenails! You will obey him while he drenches his obscene body in perfume! Just don't ask him to give you an order while he's putting on his lipstick, because he might smudge, and he will become angry with you!" Or when he's discussing his architect Speer with his young secretary "Poor Albert. I could never make him realize that beauty can only be built on top of sewers." I still have the tape, filled with intermittent lightning flashes from the storm raging around the antennae outside.
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