It starts in a military hospital in 1918, with soldier Adolf Hitler
(Bobby Watson) suffering from hysterical blindness to escape the
frontlines. Once the war's over though, he learns about a bunch of
soldiers planning acts of sabotage, and reports it to his superior Captain
Röhm (Roman Bohnen), who soon figures Hitler might be just the right man
to infiltrate the Workers Party to keep an eye on them. Hitler does Röhm
one better and becomes a popular speaker of the party, and eventually
becomes the party leader by relying on mean propaganda tactics and
painting the Jew as such as the common enemy. The Workers Party soon
become the National Socialists, as Hitler, helped by his allies Himmler
(Luis Van Rooten) the schemer and Göring (Alex Pope) the party strongman,
use methods of bullying to dictate a partyline to its followers and remove
those against the direction of the party quite violently.
Hitler and his National Socialists plan a coup d'état, co-headed by
popular World War I general Ludendorff (Reinhold Schünzel), but are led
into a trap by those who they believed supported them, and Hitler is
arrested for half a year, a period during which he writes Mein Kampf,
much of it dictated by Goebbels (Martin Koeslick), one of his closest
partners in crime.
Out of prison, Hitler's half sister (Helene Thimig)
and his half niece Geli Raubal (Poldi Dur) move in with him, and he falls
head-over-heels in love with Geli - and when the love is not requited,
Hitler just takes what he considers his -, which worries Himmler, Goebbels
and Göring, as they need a strong leader for the National Socialists, so
they organize for Hitler to catch Geli with another man and shoot her, the
knowledge of which they think makes them potty in their hand ...
1933, the National Socialists, due to heavy propaganda, do exceptionally
well at the elections. They don't become strongest party mind you, but
have large chunks of the industry behind them, so president Hindenburg
(Sig Ruman) sees himself forced to make Hitler chancellor - but with
limited responsibilities. Then the Reichstag burns though, something
started by the Nazis of course but blamed on the communists, and now
Hindenburg sees himself forced to give Hitler extra powers.
mighty Hitler, Himmler and Göring see it best to launch a regime of
terror and eliminate all opposition, also to keep Hitler in their grasp -
but he manages to top the both of them when it comes to ruthlessness, and
eventually, he lays the groundwork for World War II.
interesting early Hitler-portrait on film, as despite being made at the
height of World War II, it manages to tell a story that is more than just
propaganda material but tells a rather multi-layered story that doesn't
make Hitler look just like a monster but someone with human traits even
(and thus, it's probably repeat Hitler-actor Bobby Watson's most
interesting Hitler-performance), while the whole film shows at times
definite signs of a gangster movie - a rather fresh if not all that
far-fetched approach regarding some details in the National Socialist
In all, the film is a very lively feature that has none
of the heavy-handedness of your usual propaganda movie, and while I'm sure
bona fide historians will probably find inaccuracies aplenty, it at least
tries to remain close to the truth.
That said, not a very great movie,
but a rather entertaining one at least, also given its subject matter.