6.6/10
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2 user 4 critic

Conversation with the Beast (1996)

An American historian (Mr Webster) comes to Berlin to visit an old man who claims to be the real Adolf Hitler and to be 103 years old. The Hitler who died in 1945, the old man says, was ... See full summary »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Armin Mueller-Stahl ... Adolf Hitler
Bob Balaban ... Mr. Webster
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hark Bohm Hark Bohm ... Dr. Hassler
Katharina Böhm ... Hortense
Peter Fitz Peter Fitz ... Dr. Segebrecht
Harald Juhnke Harald Juhnke ... Hitler double
Dieter Laser ... Peter Hollsten
Joachim Dietmar Mues Joachim Dietmar Mues ... Heinrich Pfarmann
Kai Rautenberg Kai Rautenberg ... Horst Sievers
Otto Sander ... Hitler double
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Storyline

An American historian (Mr Webster) comes to Berlin to visit an old man who claims to be the real Adolf Hitler and to be 103 years old. The Hitler who died in 1945, the old man says, was just one of his six doubles - one for each weekday - while Hitler himself retired into a bunker below the S-Bahn tracks and married a second time. After much deliberation and identity-searching, Mr Webster ends up shooting and killing the self-proclaimed Hitler. Written by Christian Taube <taube@lrz.de>

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Germany

Language:

German | English

Release Date:

20 February 1997 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Conversa com a Besta See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Rudolf Steiner Film See more »
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Runtime:

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Featured in Geiger, Gaukler, Gentleman (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
PREPOSTEROUS
12 November 1999 | by J. SteedSee all my reviews

Very silly if not outright preposterous film in which director/writer/actor Armin Müller Stahl shows us a 103 year old Adolf Hitler. The aim of the film is to demystify the man Adolf Hitler, but it is a good thing that Müller-Stahl explained this when it premiered as from the film itself it is never clear what Müller-Stahl tries to achieve. It is neither satirical nor thought-provoking (the film at any moment did not provoke any thought with me as I was trying to stay awake).

What is the viewer expected to do with a Hitler who shoots peas at his visitor, refuses to take his medicine and is simply annoying to the 2 people around him. Is this supposed to be funny? The conversations do not lead anywhere and certainly no laughs, also due to the fact that there is no chemistry between Muller Stahl and Robert Balaban. The film basically only concerns itself with the story idea of the 6 actors who doubled as Adolf Hitler during his life. So what? Did Müller-Stahl wanted to say that the acting of the real Hitler made the German people believe in him?

There is one moment that is is very hilarious: one of the doubles doing the Hamlet "To be or not to be" routine in Hitlerian fashion. This is a surreal moment and maybe the whole idea should have been executed in this fashion. On the other hand: where did I see this before? John Cleese as Hitler on the balcony of a house in an English suburb; Ernst Lubitsch and Jack Benny?

It seems to me that Müller-Stahl had a "hunch at a possible idea", but forgot to make it into a solid subject for a film that would have some meaning. In stead of demystifying Hitler he made a mystifying film that never is a contribution to the Hitler debate. The very good cinematography and superb set design - Hitler's Berlin bunker was duplicated in the studio - can not save this one. (2/10)


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