Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
Munich, 1918. German-Jew Max Rothman has returned to much of his pre-war life which includes to his wife Nina and their two children, to his mistress Liselore von Peltz, and to his work as an art dealer. He has however not returned to being an aspiring painter as he lost his dominant right arm during the war. He is approached by an aspiring painter, a thirty-year old Austrian war veteran named Adolf Hitler, who wants him to show his works. Although he doesn't think the paintings are all that original and he doesn't really like Hitler as a person, Rothman takes Hitler under his wings if only because of their camaraderie of being war veterans, and knowing that Hitler had nothing and no one to come back to after the war unlike himself. Rothman believes that Hitler has promise if only he can find his original artistic point of view. In part out of need for money, Hitler, on the urging of Captain Karl Mayr, agrees to work for the army as a political spokesman in anti-Semitic propaganda. ... Written by
Writer/director Menno Meyjes reports that before the script was written, Steven Spielberg's Amblin company was interested in the project. But Spielberg told Meyjes he couldn't bring himself to help make a movie he thought would dishonor Holocaust survivors. Nevertheless, he considered the script an excellent one and encouraged the director to push for its realization, but without Amblin. See more »
During an early scene in the steelworks/gallery a worker is shown cutting up a locomotive for scrap. He is using an arc welder which was not in use until the second world war. See more »
[George Grosz crashes and drunkenly runs stumbling in, looks around at the paintings on display, and begins to vomit]
George, so glad you like it.
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Overall, I would say the film wasn't bad. Full marks for embracing the radical concept that Hitler was a human being.
Reading many of the comments posted here, I would say that the film has been somewhat misunderstood. Understandably, the viewers focus on the portrayal of Hitler. But the film is titled "Max", not "Adolf." Max, the art dealer, is the focal character of the story, not Hitler. I think that the film shows the blindness of so many Germans in the interwar years, people who saw what they wanted to see in Hitler and ignored the rest. Max saw Hitler as an amusing ex-soldier artist and futurist, and brushed off the ideology underlying his futurist visions. Max is emblematic of an army that saw his desire to rearm and ignored the ideology that would strip the army of its historic identity, of business owners who saw his committment to controling labor but ignored the ideology which would also put a stranglehold on business, of ordinary Germans who saw a strong leader to deal with their country's problems but ignored his desire for war and conquest. As recently pointed out in Woody Allen's "Anything Else", there were German Jews who supported Hitler, because they saw a strong leader. To me, "Max" is the story of the blindness that overcame so many Germans, blindness that paved the way for Hitler's rise to power.
I've read in a few comments that Hitler claims, in the film, to have not been anti-Semitic. That is not correct. Rather, as he says in the barracks, he opposes "emotional" anti-Semitism. In his mind, anti-Semitism should be based on "scientific" fact rather than raw emotions. To him, it is a self-evident truth arrived at logically by observing the Jews and their ways. This is historically correct. His big anti-Semitic speech at the end of the film is taken straight out of Mein Kampf, and shows this approach.
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