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Berlin '36 (2009)

 -  Drama  -  16 September 2011 (USA)
6.3
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 448 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 4 user | 26 critic | 6 from Metacritic.com

In the days leading up to the 1936 Olympics, the fate of high jumper Gretel Bergmann hangs in the balance as it is decided whether or not a Jewish athlete can be a part of the German Olympic team.

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Title: Berlin '36 (2009)

Berlin '36 (2009) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sebastian Urzendowsky ...
Marie Ketteler
Axel Prahl ...
Hans Waldmann
Robert Gallinowski ...
Sigfrid Kulmbach
Thomas Thieme ...
Hans von Tschammer und Osten
...
Karl Ritter von Halt
August Zirner ...
Edwin Bergmann
Maria Happel ...
Paula Bergmann
...
Rudolph Bergmann
Leon Seidel ...
Walter Bergmann
Marita Breuer ...
Eleonore Ketteler
Rosa van de Loo ...
Emma Ketteler
...
Leo Löwenstein
Elena Uhlig ...
Frau Vogel
...
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In the days leading up to the 1936 Olympics, the fate of high jumper Gretel Bergmann hangs in the balance as it is decided whether or not a Jewish athlete can be a part of the German Olympic team.

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Nazi Germany 1936. Gretel Bergman is one of Hitler's best gold medal contenders. And she's Jewish.

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Drama

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16 September 2011 (USA)  »

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Berlin '36  »

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1.85 : 1
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The steam engine 52 6106 was not built before 1943, class 50/52 locomotives were built starting 1939. See more »

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"He didn't want to embarrass the Nazis"
4 August 2010 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Berlin 36 (2009), is a German film directed by Kaspar Heidelbach. As the name implies, the action is set before and during the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany.

German politicians were caught on the horns of a dilemma--some of their finest athletes were Jewish. The Nazis would rather lose a medal for Germany than admit that Jewish athletes could be among the world's greatest.

When it became obvious that German Jews were being systematically kept out of the competition, progressive U.S. citizens called for a U.S. boycott of the Olympics. However, Avery Brundage, the U.S. Olympic President, would have none of this. Not only did he want U.S. athletes to compete, which at least is understandable, but he was a known Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite. (Not just my opinion--check out his Wikipedia entry.) So, the problem was solved by having the Germans give assurances that German Jewish athletes could, indeed, compete at the Olympics, and then making sure that they didn't actually compete.

Caught in this sick, volatile situation is Gretel Bergmann (played by the lovely Karoline Herfurth) who is certainly the best woman high jumper in Germany, and possibly the best in the world. The Nazis were determined that she would not compete, and one method they chose to assure this was to bring onto the team an untried, but gifted, athlete named Marie Ketteler. Both Gretel and Marie understand what's going on, but they nonetheless form an unlikely friendship and alliance.

In the ghastly situation present in Nazi Germany in 1936, whether or not an athlete competes in the high jump may seem extremely trivial. However, the movie gives a good sense of how thoroughly Naziism pervaded the entire fabric of pre-war Germany, and how readily non-Germans with fascist tendencies played along with Hitler's plans.

Incidentally, although this is not portrayed in the film, Brundage also saw to it that some American Jewish athletes were removed from Olympic competition because "he didn't want to embarrass the Nazis." He was just a great all-around sportsman.

We saw this film at the wonderful Rochester Jewish Film Festival. Some of the effects of the large-scale stadium productions will be lost on the small screen, but the intense parts of the film will work well on DVD.

For some reason, this movie has earned a ridiculously low IMDb average of 6.5. Hard to believe and, to me, inexplicable. Ignore the rating. Find this film and see it!


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