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 »
The song "Happy Birthday to You" is sung at the party, but it did not appear in the form we know today until 1924. 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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I thought this movie was quite profound, and heartbreaking. I thought the filmmaker was obviously trying to make the point that if only Hitler had achieved some success as an artist, and had at least one true friend who he could bond with (esp. if that friend was a Jew)then the events of the 20th century would have been far different. The scene where Max tries to get Hitler laid was incredibly funny and sad at the same time. One can't help but think, this pathetic loser is destined to rule Europe in 20 years?
The film also proposes that perhaps the whole thing (siezing power, the war, the holocaust, ...) was just an elaborate art project for Hitler and nothing else. This may be preposterous, but I give the director credit for at least trying to say something so potentially controversial. Clearly the events of post WW1 Germany were far more complicated than are expressed in this film, and clearly Hitler as a young man was far more twisted and ambitious than the character portrayed here, but nevertheless I think this film was brilliant.
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