April 1945: Gregor Hecker, 19 years of age, reaches the outskirts of Berlin as part of the Red Army's scouting team. Having fled Germany with his family when he was eight, he is confronted ... See full summary »
In 1924, 14-year-old Franz Weintraub and his parents--along with some 60,000 other Jews--moved to the Jewish area of Leopoldstadt in Vienna, Austria. A journalist and gifted storyteller, ... See full summary »
The Left Elboe Index considers seven variables--acting, production sets, plot, character development, dialogue, artistry, and continuity--- to measure a film on a scale of 10 (high) to 1 (low). As far as acting goes, there seem to be too many clichés and exaggerations to contribute drama to a historically dramatic event. If anything, it appears that weak acting makes the history less dramatic, thereby earning a rating of 2. Except for the "staight-line" scenes, there seems to be little upon which to measure the production sets, probably because many of the scenes are period newsreels, even to the extent of employing what appears to be something akin to an autobahn promo (another rating of 2). The plot rates a 1, mostly because the end is known and not much else can be done. Character development appears weakened by the stereotypical characters, some of whom seem exaggerated beyond reason. With so many forgettable characters, a rating of 2 seems fair. Artistry gets the highest rank of 4, based almost entirely on the ironic use of music. Continuity also rates a 4 since the docudrama tone is maintained, with occasional weak spots like the soldiers singing on a supply train as it speed through a crossing. This movie was produced in 1961, in the same period as very good films DR. STRANGELOVE and THE LORD OF THE FLIES, two movies that stunned audiences with their powerful drama. In my opinion this film does not measure up to those. In fact, it seems much like the last feature of a three movie night at the local drive-in. Just turn off the sound, cuddle up, and have a real excuse for getting home late. The best the Left Elbow Index can give is a 3.14. Pass the popcorn.
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