7.5/10
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55 user 46 critic

Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)

A cinematic portrait of the life and career of the infamous American execution device designer and holocaust denier.

Director:

Errol Morris
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Fred A. Leuchter Jr. ... Himself (as Fred Leuchter)
Robert Jan Van Pelt Robert Jan Van Pelt ... Himself
David Irving ... Himself
Caroline Leuchter Caroline Leuchter ... Herself (voice)
James Roth James Roth ... Himself - Analytical Chemist
Shelly Shapiro Shelly Shapiro ... Herself
Suzanne Tabasky Suzanne Tabasky ... Herself
Ernst Zündel ... Himself
David Collins ... Re-enactment cast
Daniel Polsby Daniel Polsby ... Re-enactment cast
Jeff Brown Jeff Brown ... Re-enactment cast
Robert Duerr Robert Duerr ... Re-enactment cast
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Storyline

Documentary about Fred Leuchter, an engineer who became an expert on execution devices and was later hired by revisionist historian Ernst Zundel to "prove" that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. Leuchter published a controversial report confirming Zundel's position, which ultimately ruined his own career. Most of the footage is of Leuchter, puttering around execution facilities or chipping away at the walls of Auschwitz, but Morris also interviews various historians, associates, and neighbors. Written by ccampbell

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Death See more »

Filming Locations:

Poland See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,125, 2 January 2000

Gross USA:

$507,941

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$507,941
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

According to A Brief History of Errol Morris (2000), Morris made a rough cut that he showed to colleagues and friends that only had Leuchter interviewed and it was Morris' intention that the audience would understand he was saying things either as lies or flat-out wrong. He was advised to go to Auschwitz and dig deeper so that there would be no doubt for the audience that Leuchter was wrong. See more »

Quotes

Fred A. Leuchter Jr.: The human body is not easy to destroy and it's not easy to take a life humanely and painlessly without doing a great deal of damage to the individual's body.
See more »

Connections

Features Triumph of the Will (1935) See more »

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User Reviews

Fred should've approached the situation as a scientist.
27 August 2004 | by Predator-11See all my reviews

The smartest thing for Fred Leuchter to do when confronted with the notion of providing proof as to the reality of the Holocaust would've been to simply say no. But since he was clearly unwilling to do so, the next best thing would be to would be to approach the situation objectively and scientifically. In the film he says several times that he was looking for evidence to prove the existence of gas chambers in Auschwitz, and was unable to find any. He also states that the sites were exactly the same as they were back in the 1940s, although he offers no evidence to back-up this assumption. He has absolutely no way of knowing what has happened to the chambers over the course of 40-50 years. A scientist would've realized this and come to the conclusion that the evidence he was gathering could potentially be flawed. Instead he approaches his task with the assumption that any information he gathers is 100% correct and that no tampering is possible, which is a fatal mistake. The fact of the matter is that Fred Leuchter has absolutely no idea what he's talking about, the way in which he gathered evidence and conducted his investigation was fundimentally flawed. He should've understood this and testified to that effect. For whatever reason he decided to jump to the conclusion that he was correct under any circumstance and propagated lies because of it. For this reason he is deserving of any repricussions that resulted from his actions. I have no sympathy for a man that is blinded by his own ego, or whatever it was that caused him to close his mind to many legitimate possibilities.


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