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The Goebbels Experiment (2005)

Das Goebbels-Experiment (original title)
Through archival footage and dramatic readings of his personal writings, the life of Nazi Germany's Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels, is examined.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Udo Samel ...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Narrator (voice)
Heinrich Brüning ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Engelbert Dollfuss ...
Himself (archive footage)
Wilhelm Frick ...
Himself (archive footage)
Joseph Goebbels ...
Himself (archive footage) (as Josef Goebbels)
Magda Goebbels ...
Herself (archive footage)
Hermann Göring ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Rudolf Hess ...
Himself (archive footage)
Heinrich Himmler ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
Alfred Hugenberg ...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

The Nazi propaganda mastermind behind Hitler speaks in first person as actor Kenneth Branagh reads pages of the diary kept by the chief of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, revealing the man's most inner thoughts. Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) was a symbol of Germany's Nazi regime and a twentieth-century icon of maniacal cruelty. His name has been synonymous with cynical, unscrupulous, and at times successful, propaganda. The life of Joseph Goebbels is far more complicated and disturbing than labels like "genius of spin" or "Reich Liar-General" would suggest. The chronicle shows how Goebbels continually "restaged" and reinvented himself -- from his early days as a radical "popular socialist" to his tragic end. The film lets Goebbels speak for himself through the diaries he kept without interruption from 1924 to 1945, as never before seen historical footage from German archives traces the life of the second most powerful man of the Third Reich, detailing his initial attraction to the Nazi ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Details

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Release Date:

13 April 2005 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

The Goebbels Experiment  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,769 (USA) (12 August 2005)

Gross:

$47,211 (USA) (24 February 2006)
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Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Narrator: Hitler had phoned. He wanted to welcome us and in fifteen minutes he was there, tall, healthy and vigorous. I like him. He puts us to shame with his kindness.
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Connections

Features Ohm Krüger (1941) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A must-see curio for history buffs.
9 September 2016 | by (Omaha, NE USA) – See all my reviews

Perhaps if this diminutive propaganda minister hadn't been such an outcast as a youth, he wouldn't have grown up to be such a jerk. The Goebbels Experiment is definitely worth your time if you're into WWII history, and hope to learn what might have made some of these villains tick. Kenneth Branagh lends his voice to an hour and a half of diary entries from Joseph Goebbels, a would-be novelist, poet, propagandist, and fascist anti-Semite who rose from obscurity along with Hitler, and helped his fuhrer terrorize a great many people. We learn of his painful and lonely childhood marred by crippling polio and then being shunned by his schoolmates. We hear the angst felt by many during the Weimar years, and the antisemitism pooling inside him. By the early 1920s, Goebbels has fallen under Hitler's spell, and the two men's destinies are intertwined for the rest of their lives... until their brutal suicides.

Anyone looking for insight into the cause of this man's hatred of Jews won't find much. Antisemitism in Europe hardly began with the Third Reich, and didn't end with it either. The bulk of this film centers around squabbles within the party, and Goebbels' ideas of what make good or bad propaganda. Despite his extramarital affairs (which he only hints at), Goebbels still attempts to portray himself as the quintessential German family man. With WWII raging around him, he still lives the high life by hobnobbing with actors, traveling to swanky Paris and Venice, all the while enjoying the power his position has afforded him. The journal entries turn noticeably pessimistic and more urgent, from the moment he mentions reading a letter from a commander on the eastern front. Suddenly, the fortunes of war seem to be turning. Not much in the way of specific battles are mentioned. Again, this is not exactly a blow- by-blow account off the war. Just the musings of one of the key players. His relationship with Hitler starts as some sort of a man-crush, then goes through a phase of distrust, then ultimately ends up trying to reason with him over mistakes he has made fighting the war. Goebbels also claims to be one of the few Nazi leaders respected by their soldiers on the battlefield.

From the time he hears of the trouble in Russia, Goebbels can most likely guess that his future, and that of the people closest to him, looks quite dark indeed. Still he urges the German people to fight on, and many do... until the very end. And we see this end in graphic detail. Do we the audience feel in any way sorry for him? Maybe for his family, but the words of this man deserve a harsh punishment. And they must never be forgotten. The Goebbels experiment is worth your time. A good blend of newsreel footage, speeches, and an inside look at one of the most notorious figures of perhaps the most evil regime of all time. 8 of 10 stars.

The Hound.


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