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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 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
Edit

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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Reinhard Heydrich leaves Berlin to take up a new posting as Nazi Governor of Bohemia and Moravia (Czechoslovakia), a scene follows where Helmut Hoffmann is told "You'd better hope Himmler has a job for you, or you'll find yourself fighting Russians." This is in reference to the practice of the SS where General-SS members, without active assignments, would transfer to the Waffen-SS as military reservists. Interestingly, in the subsequent scene set a year later after Heydrich's assassination, Helmut is shown wearing a Waffen-SS tunic complete with combat and service awards from the Eastern Front, thus implying that he *did* find himself fighting Russians. See more »

Goofs

In all the scenes featuring Heinrich Himmler, Himmler is shown as stern and militaristic, requiring others to stand at attention when they address him and speaking in a harsh disciplinarian manner. This is completely contrary to Himmler's actual character, who conducted himself (with a few exceptions) in a friendly manner around most members of the SS, mostly out of a sense of comradeship and a feeling that the SS was a brotherhood of Germanic men. In most newsreels showing Himmler around other members of the SS, he is frequently shown smiling and in casual conversation, rarely appearing before others as an authoritarian figure. See more »

Quotes

Putzi: [1939, in a bar full of Nazi's and German soldiers] We hoped you enjoyed our entertainment ladies and gentlemen, that's all we have for you tonight... oh... one thing I almost forgot, someone asked me a request. Would I sing the Polish national anthem... anyone know it? You know it? Well, no matter. It'll be obsolete by Christmas anyway, like the Jews.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The DVD version of the film omits the entire first part of the feature, substituting the 1931 - 1939 scenes with a quick summary at the start of the film, then begins with the invasion of Poland in 1939. See more »

Soundtracks

Wenn die Soldaten,
sung on train to the Night of the Long Knives
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Interesting, if overreaching summary of the rise of the SS
15 October 1999 | by Wolfram-4See all my reviews

This was a rather good film. It artfully tells the story of the days just after the Nazi "Machtergreifung", and the power struggle between Himmler's SS (with Heydrich's SD an important part) and Ernst Röhm's SA, through the Hoffman family. Karl, a seeming true-blue National Socialist, joins the SA. His brother Helmut, an opportunist, joins the SS for career advancement, and deluding himself into believing that by being in the SS, he could "Do good on the inside".

This film does an excellent job in examining the motivations of Nazis, and of human feelings through Karl and Helmut's sibling rivalry. The acting was excellent, featuring Jose Ferrer as Helmut's old teacher, who is a Jew. However, I found the actress playing Mitzi to be repulsively vacuous. Tony Randall's cameo appearance was brilliant, among others.

Where this film fails is that it tries to do too much. Ity tries far too hard to address every issue involved in discussing the Third Reich, from Anti-Semitism, to the cause of the war, to the Hitler Youth, to propaganda, and so forth. This causes much superficiality, so that none of these topics is thoroughly addressed. The largest strength to this film, is that it so bravely and accurately portrays a historic episode, known as the Night of the Long Knives, in which Hitler has Röhm, and his SA leadership killed, presumably because they were planning a Putsch against Hitler. It re-examines an old issue, and it does it cunningly.


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