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The Goebbels Experiment (2005)

Das Goebbels-Experiment (original title)
Through archival footage and dramatic readings of his personal writings, the life of Nazi Germany's Propaganda Minister, Josef Goebbels, is examined.

Director:

Lutz Hachmeister

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Cast

Credited cast:
Udo Samel ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kenneth Branagh ... Narrator (voice)
Heinrich Brüning Heinrich Brüning ... Self (archive footage)
Winston Churchill ... Self (archive footage)
Engelbert Dollfuss Engelbert Dollfuss ... Self (archive footage)
Wilhelm Frick Wilhelm Frick ... Self (archive footage)
Joseph Goebbels ... Self (archive footage) (as Josef Goebbels)
Magda Goebbels Magda Goebbels ... Self (archive footage)
Hermann Göring ... Self (archive footage)
Veit Harlan ... Self (archive footage)
Rudolf Hess ... Self (archive footage)
Heinrich Himmler ... Self (archive footage)
Adolf Hitler ... Self (archive footage)
Alfred Hugenberg Alfred Hugenberg ... Self (archive footage)
Joe Louis ... Self (archive footage)
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Storyline

The Nazi propaganda mastermind behind Hitler speaks in first person as actor Kenneth Branagh reads pages of the diary kept by the chief of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, revealing the man's most inner thoughts. Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) was a symbol of Germany's Nazi regime and a twentieth-century icon of maniacal cruelty. His name has been synonymous with cynical, unscrupulous, and at times successful, propaganda. The life of Joseph Goebbels is far more complicated and disturbing than labels like "genius of spin" or "Reich Liar-General" would suggest. The chronicle shows how Goebbels continually "restaged" and reinvented himself -- from his early days as a radical "popular socialist" to his tragic end. The film lets Goebbels speak for himself through the diaries he kept without interruption from 1924 to 1945, as never before seen historical footage from German archives traces the life of the second most powerful man of the Third Reich, detailing his initial attraction to the Nazi ... Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Narrator: Hitler had phoned. He wanted to welcome us and in fifteen minutes he was there, tall, healthy and vigorous. I like him. He puts us to shame with his kindness.
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Connections

Features Triumph of the Will (1935) See more »

User Reviews

 
Get into Gobbel's head
4 August 2012 | by roedygSee all my reviews

This is a remarkable film. It consists of Kenneth Branaugh reading Goebbels' diary. The video is mostly original Nazi footage of the relevant events. Again and again I was astounded that they could find matching video. Sometimes it consists of Goebbels addressing crowds in German with subtitles. The quality of the film is superb, both in black and white and colour. It often so good I wondered if I were watching a recreation. I wish they were clear about this. Sometimes there is modern day colour footage of places Goebbels mentions.

There is no commentary. You are seeing the world purely through the eyes of a peevish, vain little bigot. One thing that became clear from all the footage, the Nazis did not push their brutality on the Germans, millions of German enthusiastically welcomed it, ditto the war, ditto the pogroms. Goebbels committed suicide, and also killed his four young children. These quite adorable kids feature prominently in the film. It is quite a shock to see their corpses.

I always assumed that propagandists in war lied and claimed the war was going well no matter what. Goebbels, to my surprise, argued for telling the truth. Hearing the propaganda was just too insulting for the troops. Goebbels had delusions of grandeur. He seemed to think his propaganda movies were more important that armaments in deciding the outcome of a war.

The Nazis were even better than the Americans at getting people whipped up with enthusiasm for an unjust war. Everyone is familiar with the mandatory heil Hitler salute, which reinforced subjection to Hitler and made clear everyone else was giving obeisance. Hitler responded with a languorous over the shoulder salute. When orating, Goebbels would just start shaking his finger as if chastising an unusually naughty child, but he would keep going without a pause for minutes at a time with a very fast cadence. I suspect the intent was to trigger primal fear of parental disapproval. Sometimes he would just shake his hand the same way. He also did some motions that were languid, a bit like magician gestures. Perhaps these were for riveting attention.

The movie needs a clock to let you know the year being talked about and the major events that have just happened. Goebbels has quite a different idea of what is important from most of us, and leaves out huge events. This makes it hard to fit what you are watching into a bigger context.


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Details

Official Sites:

First Run Features

Country:

Germany | UK

Language:

German | English

Release Date:

13 April 2005 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Goebbels Experiment See more »

Filming Locations:

Bavaria, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,769, 14 August 2005

Gross USA:

$47,211

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$47,211
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