6.5/10
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23 user 2 critic

Hitler's S.S.: Portrait in Evil (1985)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | TV Movie 17 February 1985
The story of Helmut and Karl Hoffmann. Both come of age at the start of Hitler's power in Germany. Helmut joins the SS and eventually becomes a successful flag rank officer. Karl joins the ... See full summary »

Director:

Jim Goddard

Writer:

Lukas Heller
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Shea ... Karl Hoffmann
Bill Nighy ... Helmut Hoffmann
Lucy Gutteridge ... Mitzi Templer (nightclub singer)
David Warner ... Reinhard Heydrich
Warren Clarke ... Becker (SS assistant to Dietrich)
Michael Elphick ... Ernst Röhm (SA Chief)
Stratford Johns ... Uncle Walter (bartender)
Robert Urquhart ... Albrecht Hoffman
José Ferrer ... Prof. Ludwig Rosenberg
Carroll Baker ... Gerda Hoffman
Tony Randall ... Putzi (The Comedian)
John Normington ... Heinrich Himmler
Derek Newark Derek Newark ... Theodor Eicke
Paul Brooke ... Gen. Josef Biegler, SA
Colin Jeavons ... Adolf Hitler
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Storyline

The story of Helmut and Karl Hoffmann. Both come of age at the start of Hitler's power in Germany. Helmut joins the SS and eventually becomes a successful flag rank officer. Karl joins the SA and experiences the darker side of Nazism after the SA is disbanded and Karl is thrown into prison and later conscripted into the German army. Brother is pitted against brother until their relationship, and the Third Reich, stands in ruins Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Brother is pitted against brother under the shadow of the Third Reich.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the fall of 1932, when the film depicts the first meeting between Helmut Hoffmann and Reinhard Heydrich, Heydrich was an SS-Standartenführer (Colonel) and had served in the SS for just over a year. Considered rather unimportant by SS leaders, Heydrich would not become well known in the SS until after moving to Berlin and taking over the Gestapo in April of 1934. See more »

Goofs

Just prior to 1941, Becker asks Hoffmann if he will help obtain a genealogy certificate, for an SS recruit trying to prove German heritage, from "Hildebrandt's department". Richard Hildebrandt served as head of the SS Race Office (which screened SS applicants for their heritage) only after 1943. This early in the war, the race office was under the command of other SS officers. See more »

Quotes

Karl Hoffmann: You can probably remember when Bismark was Chancellor!
Uncle Walter: That's right, I can. And we didn't have songs to honor pimps then, either.
Karl Hoffmann: The "Horst Wessel"? What are you talking about, Horst Wessel was killed in a fight with the Communists back in '30.
Uncle Walter: I don't care if he was killed by a troupe of performing monkeys. He was still a pimp then, all the same!
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Alternate Versions

In the version of the film shown on the History Channel's "Movies in Time" series, about 30-45 minutes of dialogue is cut from various scenes and conversations. This was necessary to have the running time under three and a half hours to allow for the Movies in Time commentary and interviews at the beginning and end of the feature. See more »

Soundtracks

Wenn die Soldaten,
sung on train to the Night of the Long Knives
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User Reviews

 
Absorbing study of two brothers with opposing viewpoints in Nazi Germany...
3 January 2007 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

Handsomely produced TV film is an ambitious project in that it follows the rise of the Third Reich while telling the story of a German family, in particular, two brothers (BILL NIGHY and JOHN SHEA) who are swept into the wartime problems when the oldest joins the SS in 1931 and becomes a good Nazi (until he sees the scope of the horror) and the other eventually joins because he's under the illusion that he can change things from the inside.

Although it covers a span of '33 to '45, none of the actors age noticeably, the one weakness in an otherwise carefully detailed production.

This is not the first time this sort of subject has been handled. A less epic, more narrowly focused melodrama of two brothers with opposing viewpoints was made in the 1940s (UNDERGROUND - 1941) with JEFFREY LYNN and PHILIP DORN as German brothers taking opposite viewpoints of the wartime philosophy and directed by Vincent Sherman. Although it was a well done melodrama, it did not attempt to get the full flavor of the Third Reich and its various operations as this film does.

JOHN SHEA is especially impressive as the brother who speaks his mind against some of the Nazi practices and at one point even ends up for awhile in Dachau, the concentration camp. The other brother manages to get him released but there are still many trials and tribulations for both of them before the film reaches a dramatic climax. CARROL BAKER does a nice job as a worried German mother.

David WARNER is impressive as Reinhard Heydrich, the sarcastic and brutal Nazi officer who gets his comeuppance before the war is over. All of the performances are first rate and the story covers a good deal of actual history without ever losing track of its main characters.

Absorbing stuff, lengthy, but well worth watching.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Polish

Release Date:

17 February 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hitler SS: El retrato del mal See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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