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No wonder that the historian Ian Kershaw, author of the groundbreaking Hitler biography, who originally was the scientific consultant for this TV film, dissociated himself from it. The film is historically just too incorrect. The mistakes start right away when Hitler`s father Alois dies at home, while in reality he died in a pub. In the film, Hitler moves from Vienna to Munich in 1914, while in reality he actually moved to Munich in 1913. I could go on endlessly. Hitler`s childhood and youth are portrayed way too short, which makes it quite difficult for historically uninformed people to understand the character of this frustrated neurotic man. Important persons of the early time of the party, like Hitler`s fatherly friend Dietrich Eckart or the party "philosopher" Alfred Rosenberg are totally missing. The characterization of Ernst Hanfstaengl is very problematic. In the film he is portrayed as a noble character who almost despises Hitler. The script obviously follows Hanfstaengl`s own gloss over view of himself which he gave in his biography after the war. In fact, Hanfstaengl was an anti-semite and was crazy about his "Fuehrer". But the biggest problem of the film is the portrayal of Hitler himself. He is characterized as someone who is constantly unfriendly,has neither charisma nor charm and constantly orders everybody around. After watching the film, one wonders, how such a disgusting person ever was able to get any followers. Since we all know, what an evil criminal Hitler was, naturally every scriptwriter is tempted to portray Hitler as totally disgusting and uncharismatic. But facts is, that in private he could be quite charming and entertaining. His comrades didn`t follow him because he constantly yelled at them, but because they liked this strange man. Beyond all those historical mistakes, the film is well made, the actors are first class, the location shots and the production design give a believable impression of the era.
Being a fanatical semi-professional historian on WW2, and utterly
fascinated by Hitler's third Reich and all it's military power, I could
hardly wait for "Hitler; the rise of evil" to come out after having
seen the theatrical trailer.
Heavens, I never felt so completely confused about a movie after pushing the 'stop' button on my DVD-player's remote. I simply couldn't decide whether I liked it or not.
First of all, the performances set by Carlyle and companions are quite good. A little over-acted every now and then, especially Carlyle who obviously tries his up-most to copy the "Führer" and his body-language. He acts as if he is in a theatre, and seems to forget the fact that camera's register way more details/facial expressions. Compare a real recording of a Hitler-speech with one of Carlyle's speech-scene's and you'll see what I mean.
Then comes the Historical accuracy. Not quite bad, but I kept noticing small things which obviously were incorrect. Uniforms, weapons, bread-prices, skinny-Röhm, fat Hess... not really impressive job I might say.
but one of the most compelling things about the whole film (or series, I 've seen it as a film) is the fact that it is very obvious the director desperately wants to show the world Hitler was a sick-minded, over-emotional and completely mentally unstable person. Well, I can assure you this: He absolutely had his periods of mental disturbances and ignoring the truth, especially toward the war's end. But this... I have read many, many eye-witness reports from people who lived in his presence, like Albert Speer. They all agreed on some things, namely the facts Adolf Hitler was very often a think full, correct, funny, honorable man. Hitler was the mastermind behind the Nazi's criminal and appalling Holocaust. Hitler was a criminal. A kind of person that can never be allowed to rise to power again. This is obviously the reason why the director choose to show him the way he did. However, Hitler was dangerous not because he was a monster, he was dangerous because he was so intelligent, so well-spoken. Because he was worshipped by so many, because he knew what to say to 'his' people. That was the real danger, and that's exactly what we must teach. Think of it this way: The most successful murderers and big criminals are usually the smart, well-spoken and socially established men. You wouldn't know he is a monster until you see what he has done.
I wish the director/writer added a bit more humanity to his character. But obviously they chose to show the audience Hitler changed from a normal person into a monster. Talking about stereotypes and negligence of the truth.
Overall I still found it an enjoyable movie which does achieve one of it's main goals: portraying us, the crowd, as willing sheep, especially in times of need. Ye be warned.
** Note: One very imposing scene: Hitler speaks out loud his ideas in the court-yard, with Hess recording it. After awhile you get to see a different day every now and then, and every time more and more inmates cheer him from behind their bars overlooking the yard.
I was OK up with this film up until the point where Geli comes in and
then it all went down from there. In order to demonify Hitler they made
it seem like he was a controlling bastard and Geli was scared of him
and thought him crazy. Anyone who has done any studying on this subject
should know that Geli was completely in love with him and even staged a
suicide attempt to get him to notice her more. When he met Eva she
couldn't take it anymore, the fact that he wasn't with her all the time
and really killed herself out of despair and depression. Not because he
was treating her cruelly and being a monster. This really makes me
laugh that someone would go and change history so blatantly so it can
fit their own concept of an evil maniacal Hitler.
In no way am I supporting Hitler or what he did but a historian is supposed to portray history in an objective and impartial manner. Something that seems hard for filmmakers with their own agenda to do.
I thought Robert Carlyle was very good in his role as were the other actors/actresses.
Well first off I'd like to add that I myself is somewhat of a historian
so what I look for in a film that is based upon historical events is
that it is actually based upon historical facts. But this is however
not the case here. Sure the movie is entertaining and all but the fact
that it isn't entirely based upon true facts is more than annoying.
Hitler wasn't anti-semitic in his youth, he even worked for Jews before
world war one. It was however during world war one and after that he
formed his views about the Jews. His upbringing in this movie is also
inaccurate, Hitler as a child wasn't a disturbed little brat. He had a
more or less normal upbringing. Nothing is mentioned about his lost
brothers and other important pieces that adds to the puzzle that is
Robert Carlyle is a great actor but he doesn't really fit in the role as Hitler. Hitler wasn't as impossible and unstable as he is portrait-ed here. Under his younger years he was a charismatic person whom "manipulated" people through his charms. His unstable behavior and rage outbursts started in the turning point of the war.
I'd like to see a film about Hitler's life that is based upon real historical facts and not accusations. I really hate when people point a blaming finger at for example Hitler and others and tell inaccurate stories just to paint a picture of them as pure evil. It is much better to actually tell the story EXACTLY as it was so that everyone can learn what it was like! The ones behind this movie should have made some research before making this. Because it seems as if they didn't even know what really happened. Hitler wasn't even shot in the revolutionary march in Munch, his shoulder was ripped out of its socket.
It gives you more to see a good documentary than seeing this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As usual, I was really looking forward to a new TV/film on a favourite subject of mine - makes a nice change from a *strangely familiar* documentary about Kursk or Stalingrad on the History Channel.
I avidly looked forward to Pearl Harbour and Enemy at the Gates - but was rudely brought down to earth with the realisation of the malevolent, stupid-ifying power of Hollywood - and its ability to spend an absolute fortune on tripe.
So yet again I got excited about 'The Rise of Evil', especially as I heard that Ian Kershaw was involved, as I've enjoyed his books. I can see why he quit.
To quote some guy responsible for this rubbish:
"The Kershaw book was an academic piece," he said. "It was
quite dry. We needed more incidents."
Incidents? Are they totally nuts? Hitler's life cannot be said to be without 'incident' - yes Kershaw's two volume Hitler biographies were long and detailed, but they were supposed to be.
The thesis behind 'Rise of Evil' seems to be:
Hitler was a very bad man - no he was a VERY bad man, who HATED jews, and just in case you miss this, we're going to emphasise the fact in EVERY scene in the film.
There was no effort whatsoever to try and explain the mood of the time, and why Hitler may have adopted the views and strategy he did. Needless to say - unlike the generally excellent 'Nazis - A Warning from History' - this film neglected to point out the fact that nearly all of the leaders of the Munich communist rising were Jewish, and that this may have coloured his views on the subject - and his axiomatic linking of the jews with Bolshevism - an absolutely crucial aspect to understanding much of the Nazi era.
But there was not much understanding to be done - the film-makers weren't going to go there, so we just got all the stuff we knew about anyway. We certainly don't get the fascinating fact that Kershaw alludes to, which has Hitler briefly being a socialist/communist immediately after WW1. That would of course be far too complex for the film to handle, and might even detract from the relentless 'he was very bad' mantra which bangs away incessantly.
We know he was a bad man. However, we also know that he was a mesmerising figure both as a public speaker and in more private situations. He could be polite and even sympathetic, and of course espoused some views like vegetarianism, anti-alcohol and anti-smoking that many Guardian readers could agree with. He was also famously fond of animals, hence why that wholly invented dog-flogging scene was so absurd.
He was also, from all the accounts I've seen, a brave soldier in WW1. Whilst we saw him with his Iron Cross, we never get to see how he won it (acts of bravery were not in the script, needless to say). We also get no insight whatsoever into why he was so fired up by his war experiences, whilst Sassoon, Owen, Brook, Remarque and so many others found it so repellent an experience. And again, like the point above re the jewish/bolshevik link, this is vital to anyone's understanding about the subject. Why did he love war so much? Why did he think it was always a good idea, despite massive evidence to the contrary? Why didn't he care about his colleagues who died? Or maybe he did - but still drew the wrong conclusions.
This film certainly didn't have anything of any interest to say on this either.
As all too often these days, the film is a classic example of 'making history relevant to the present' and inventing stuff or leaving awkward facts out to fit in with 'the present' - which all too often is to cater to the lowest common denominator, where you don't trust your audience an inch, so you just ram stuff down their throats, knowing (sadly correctly) that you'll always get away with it because there are so many dumb fools in the world.
History is really about making us relevant to the past and seeing how it colours our present, for better and for worse. This rubbish was a great opportunity, lost again. They spent millions on it, and the locations and large scenes were impressive, but told us nothing at all we didn't know already, and promoted no understanding of this dark period in human history.
If another Hitler ever arises, it will be thanks in part to nonsense
like this film, which propagates the absurd notion that he was a
visibly deranged lunatic from the start. Far from following such a
person and electing him to the highest office in the land, sane people
would cross the street to avoid him, and he would have died in a ditch,
nameless and unknown.
Anyone who reads the accounts of Hitler's close companions - the autobiography of his secretary Traudl Junge for instance - will be struck by the fact that people found him a kindly, intelligent, generous man. He was also a brilliant orator, and the fact that his speeches seem overblown and ranting to modern ears ignores the times in which they were made, when strutting pomposity was common in political speeches. Ditto the overstated anti-Semitism, which was neither a central plank of the early Nazis - who were primarily anti-communist - nor uncommon or unusual for the times. The film makes it look as though Hitler's sole ambition from the start was the Holocaust.
If you want to identify the next person who will cause the death of tens of millions, you can ignore fleck-lipped ravers life the one portrayed here. Look instead for a charming, charismatic man whose compelling speeches inspire the entire nation, and whose political work visibly and materially benefits the country. I'm afraid his personality will be much more like Barack Obama's than Fred Phelps'.
I hoped for much here, and got nothing but caricature. The fools who made this thing perpetrated a crime against reality. This is the historical equivalent of 'Reefer Madness'.
Just imagine the real Hitler, who was a master of propaganda and
speech, would have been such a mumbling moron as Carlyle portrayed him
in this film.
Nobody would have followed him, not even a desperate, unemployed guy in the 1920s.
This is just a Hollywood cardboard piece of propaganda itself, disguised as "true history".
I pity everyone who actually believed anything from this show. Carlyle and the producers didn't get anything right with this.
Why was Hitler able to win so many people, a whole county for his ideas if we was such a sausage? Why did people follow him to death? By portraying him as such a loser they make their own film totally unbelievable. This film is a mixture of old WW2 propaganda and MTV urban myths about one of the most important persons of the last century. Imagine a film about Churchill where the director only shows him as a drunkard for 90 mins.
This film is a disgrace and I wonder how they could talk an actor like Carlyle into this dreck.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This could well be the worst film I've ever seen. Despite what Mikshelt
claims, this movie isn't even close to being historically accurate. It
starts badly and then it's all downhill from there. We have Hitler's
father cursing his own bad luck on the "fact" that he'd married his
niece! They were in fact, second cousins. Hitler's mother, Klara,
called his father, Alois, "uncle" because Alois had been adopted and
raised by Klara's grandfather and brought up as his son, when he was
really his nephew. Alois was much older than Klara and so as a child
she'd got into the habit of calling Alois, "uncle."
The scene in the trenches where Hitler is mocked by his fellow soldiers and decides to take it out on his dog is simply a disgrace and an insult to the intelligence of all viewers. We see Hitler chase the dog through the trench, when he catches up with the poor thing he proceeds to thrash it for disobeying him. In the distance we see and hear his fellow soldiers continue to mock and chastise the cowardly little man, but then a shell lands directly on his persecutors, and every last one, we are told, is killed outright. How then, if Hitler was the only person to survive the scene, did this tale of brutality and cowardice come to be told? Did Hitler himself go around "boasting" about it? - I don't think so.
Next up, Hitler bullies and intimidates a poor, stressed out and war weary Jewish officer into giving him an Iron Cross! I can only assume that this Jewish officer had been a pawnbroker before fighting for the Fatherland, and had thoughtfully brought along some pledged medals from his shop, because I'm certain that Iron Crosses were not being handed out as shown in this comic farce.
All the grotesque clichés are here, not least the calming and hypnotic effect of Wagner's music upon the little man. If only the producers had kept Ian Kershaw on side. Then they might have discovered that Franz Lehar's "Merry Widow" was more likely to float the Fuhrer's boat than any "Flying Dutchman" from the cannon of Richard Wagner!
Hitler may have been responsible for the deaths of 60 million people but how can he ever be forgiven for his appalling taste in music?
I could go on but I'd be at it for hours.
Give it a miss.
I watched this hoping to find out something I didn`t know about modern
history`s most infamous man and couldn`t help thinking that history has been
rewritten in HITLER:THE RISE OF EVIL . Hitler was so obsessed with his niece
that he threatened to have one of her admirer`s shot . Hitler turned up with
a gun in his hand to arrest Ernst Rohm . Forgive me for asking but haven`t
the writers confused Adolph Hitler with Tony Montana from SCARFACE ? That`s
bad enough but what really offended me was that there`s entire chunks of
historical context missing in this mini series . Germany lost the first
world war and the allied powers made Germany pay a heavy price for doing so. It was this economic environment that led the German people to have
someone - anyone - to restore their pride and that`s why they turned to
Nazism . The German humiliation of the 1920s caused by the allied powers
seems to be entirely missing therefore there is no way that HITLER:THE RISE
OF EVIL can be taken seriously as a historical document, and I haven`t even
mentioned that Himmler and Goering are conspicous by their absence
There is one positive point about the mini series and that`s Robert Carlyle in the title role . Okay some of his mannerisms are wrong and his voice is a little too loud ( Archive recordings show that Hitler had a soft seductive voice ) but Carlyle is a charismatic actor and he does manage to communicate Hitler`s own charisma on screen . Comments in the British press that Carlyle resembles the synth player from Sparks more than Adolph Hitler are unfounded and he gives one of the better interpretations of Hitler.
I liked the performance by Robert Carlyle but I hated everything else about this mini series and wondered why on earth it was made in the first place . There`s nothing to recommend it to serious history fans
The best bits in this are the convincing recreations of the look of the
Reichstag and other places associated with the rise of Hitler. It may
involve CGI, but this is CGI that works (unlike in many much more
The script is ropey. Especially in the early stages the characters lecture each other with historical information they would all already know, for the benefit of viewers - a classic mistake. Later we have Hindenburg talking about defending democracy. Hindenburg was not a democrat. He believed it was his duty to serve the state and to uphold its constitution.
Many have noted that Robert Carlyle's ranting Hitler would never have come to power. He'd have been certified. Why the makers of this went for this one-dimensional treatment is a mystery.
The film suggests that the Nazis could provoke an election just by walking out of the Reichstag chamber - an over-simplification to say the least.
The scenes with the newspaper man do not ring true at all, and are an embarrassment.
It all gets very rushed once Hitler becomes chancellor. The key election after the Reichstag fire is omitted. There is no mention of the Communists and Social Democrats who were missing from the session which passed the enabling law in an atmosphere of fear. The Night of the Long Knives appears to come immediately after this, although it took place 15 months later. It's a hopeless jumble.
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