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Hitler: The Rise of Evil (2003)
Very entertaining, but historically incorrect
No wonder that the historian Ian Kershaw, author of the groundbreaking Hitler biography, who originally was the scientific consultant for this TV film, dissociated himself from it. The film is historically just too incorrect. The mistakes start right away when Hitler`s father Alois dies at home, while in reality he died in a pub. In the film, Hitler moves from Vienna to Munich in 1914, while in reality he actually moved to Munich in 1913. I could go on endlessly. Hitler`s childhood and youth are portrayed way too short, which makes it quite difficult for historically uninformed people to understand the character of this frustrated neurotic man. Important persons of the early time of the party, like Hitler`s fatherly friend Dietrich Eckart or the party "philosopher" Alfred Rosenberg are totally missing. The characterization of Ernst Hanfstaengl is very problematic. In the film he is portrayed as a noble character who almost despises Hitler. The script obviously follows Hanfstaengl`s own gloss over view of himself which he gave in his biography after the war. In fact, Hanfstaengl was an anti-semite and was crazy about his "Fuehrer". But the biggest problem of the film is the portrayal of Hitler himself. He is characterized as someone who is constantly unfriendly,has neither charisma nor charm and constantly orders everybody around. After watching the film, one wonders, how such a disgusting person ever was able to get any followers. Since we all know, what an evil criminal Hitler was, naturally every scriptwriter is tempted to portray Hitler as totally disgusting and uncharismatic. But facts is, that in private he could be quite charming and entertaining. His comrades didn`t follow him because he constantly yelled at them, but because they liked this strange man. Beyond all those historical mistakes, the film is well made, the actors are first class, the location shots and the production design give a believable impression of the era.