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Mother Night (1996)

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An American spy behind the lines during WWII serves as a Nazi propagandist, a role he cannot escape in his future life as he can never reveal his real role in the war.

Director:

Keith Gordon

Writers:

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (novel) (as Kurt Vonnegut), Robert B. Weide (screenplay)
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A Man Without a Country, based on Kurt Vonnegut's last book, shows his worldview, humor and life story, through his best friends. It is as close as it gets to his very essence.

Director: J.J. Harting
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Kurt Vonnegut, Kilgore Trout and their very best friends.

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Stars: Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Mark Vonnegut, Nanny Vonnegut
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Nolte ... Howard Campbell
Anthony J. Robinow Anthony J. Robinow ... Prison Warden
Michael McGill Michael McGill ... Prison Official
Shimon Aviel Shimon Aviel ... Guard Bernard Liebman
Bill Corday Bill Corday ... Campbell's Father
Bronwen Mantel Bronwen Mantel ... Campbell's Mother
Brawley Nolte ... Young Howard Campbell
Sheryl Lee ... Helga & Resi Noth
John Goodman ... Major Frank Wirtanen
Louis Strauss Louis Strauss ... Old Jewish Man
Zach Grenier ... Joseph Goebbels
Richard Zeman ... Rudolph Hoess
Thomas Hauff ... SS Officer
Jeff Pufah Jeff Pufah ... Young German Soldier
Norman Rodway ... Werner Noth
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Storyline

Howard W. Campbell, Jr., an American expatriate playwright, Nazi radio propagandist, and Allied spy, writes his memoirs during his pre-trial confinement in 1961 Haifa and learns that people are what they pretend to be. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Howard W. Campbell, Jr., is the most patriotic American in the Third Reich. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for a scene of sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fine Line Features

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German | Yiddish

Release Date:

1 November 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Confessione finale See more »

Filming Locations:

Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$48,661, 3 November 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$392,362
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Frank Wirtanen" is the name of the man who used to sell Christmas trees to the Vonnegut family. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Prison Warden: Do you prefer German or English?
Howard W. Campbell Jr.: English.
Prison Warden: You are to write down your memoirs for the Haifa Institute For The Documentation of War Criminals. You have three weeks to complete your memoirs before your trial begins. Do you have any questions?
Howard W. Campbell Jr.: No, this is great. Thanks for everything.
See more »

Connections

References The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

The Star Spangled Banner
Written by John Stafford Smith (uncredited) and Francis Scott Key (uncredited)
Courtesy Audio Action
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User Reviews

 
The sadness and humor of Vonnegut translates to film? Amazing.
13 March 1999 | by JLee-2See all my reviews

I haven't read this book, but all through the movie I was awestruck with only one thought in my head: This is so Vonnegut. I have never seen an author, all of the intelligence and life behind the workings of a novel, translated so well to film. This movie had the same complexities found in Vonnegut's novels: the jokes were often meaningful and symbolic, and the dramatic events and symbols were often also jokes.

Campbell was also a very Vonnegut character, portrayed perfectly by Nick Nolte. He had all of the earmarks of a Vonnegut "hero": lack of concern for political boundaries, ironic dark humor giving way to dumb inactivity in response to stress, and an unwillingness to push his version of reality on those around him.

Overall, I was constantly surprised and impressed as I watched this movie. It was the same feeling I had reading "Cat's Cradle," my first Vonnegut novel, as if the most perfectly oddball thing that could happen, he thought of THAT, and he made it real and important. Yes, he has nothing but army surplus "White Christmas" albums. So it goes!


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