8.0/10
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15 user 22 critic

Night Will Fall (2014)

Not Rated | | Documentary, History, War | 5 December 2014 (USA)
Researchers discover film footage from World War II that turns out to be a lost documentary shot by Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein in 1945 about German concentration camps.

Director:

(as André Singer)

Writer:

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7 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Narrator (voice)
Jasper Britton ...
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Josef Kramer ...
Himself, commandant, Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (archive footage)
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Himself - Sergeant Ret. (archive footage)
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Himself, British army photographer (voice) (archive footage)
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Himself (voice) (archive footage)
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James William Illingworth ...
Himself, British army gunner (archive footage)
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Himself, Soviet cameraman (archive footage)
...
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Storyline

During the April of 1945, in Germany, the World War II was drawing to a close, with the Allied Forces moving towards Berlin. Among their ranks were also soldiers that were newly trained as combat cameramen with the sole duty to document the gruesome scenes behind the recently liberated Nazi concentration camps on behalf of the British Government. The 1945 documentary was named "German Concentration Camps Factual Survey" and it was produced by Sidney Bernstein with the participation of Alfred Hitchcock. For nearly seven decades, the film was shelved in the British archives, abandoned without a public screening for either political reasons or shifted Government priorities, to be ultimately completed by a team of historians and film scholars of the British Imperial War Museum, who meticulously restored the original footage. Intertwined with interviews of both survivors and liberators, as well as short newsreel films and raw footage from the original film, the 2014 documentary chronicles ... Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They liberated the camps and documented the unthinkable See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

5 December 2014 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Noite Cairá  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

| (archival footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Oliver Keers' documentary research debut. See more »

Quotes

Narrator for German Concentration Camps Factual Survey: Unless the world learns the lesson these pictures teach, night will fall... but by God's grace, we who live will learn.
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Connections

Features Death Mills (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Making of a documentary deemed to horrifying to complete
28 January 2015 | by See all my reviews

A fascinating film. A horrifying film. To be clear this is not the documentary about SS concentration camps that was left unfinished, and suppressed after the war. That film can be seen elsewhere. To be clear, having seen that film, this documentary does leave out just a few key elements. The original film goes out of it's way to say these camps were not only for Jews and lists all the nationalities and religions that came to be killed here. So to say that film is about the Holocaust is not entirely true and is specifically not the point of the original film.

What this film does is set the discovery of the camps and the aftermath into context both large--the governments involved, and small--the military camera crews and even some camp survivors who are seen both now and in the vintage footage. A real feat to find these people so many years later.

Sure you may think you've seen this all before, both in fiction films and in various documentary ones. But this still packs a punch, perhaps even more so since you will think you already know all there is to know. I've spent a lot of my life studying WW2 and I was still blown away by this film. I'm also a Hitchcock fan, and his name is being used to "sell" this film and the restoration and completion of the original documentary.

A point made in this excellent film is that the intention was to make a documentary that was a warning that unless what happened in Germany is seen and understood that 'night will fall' again and these type of large scale inhumanity will re-occur. Of course you can argue that does in fact happen.

This film shows footage not used in the original documentary and is as much about those who made the film as it is about everything else. Interestingly it talks about Hitchcock's input to help make the film convincing. The horrors of reality being so unreal that they might seem created for effect. You can also see in some of the dead faces some dead faces that will appear in Hitchcock's own fiction films after this one.

This film also contrasts the film which was suppressed with the film that did get finished and released--that version being supervised by Billy Wilder. The makers of this film obviously preferring Hitchcock's version.

And fans of both great directors will see their hand in how they shaped material shot by others. The camp footage was shot by army camera men without a director being there.

The graphic concentration camp footage is very graphic but focuses on the horrible expressions on the faces of the dead that is what makes it overwhelming and gripping.

Very little music is used, the voice over work is first rate as is haunting sound effects work. Part of what Night Will Fall does, by being a behind the scenes making of film is help to show just how real and unstaged these horrors of war were. It is hard to watch this film and come away thinking somehow all this was made up just for the sake of the Jews. In fact its impossible to believe that after you see this film.

Once more let me say this is not the so called Hitchcock film, though portions of that are shown within this film. That you have to seek out elsewhere and see for what it is, it has different things to show and say. This is almost an extended preview and background that helps viewing that film.


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