Published on June 11th, 2008 | by Chris0
Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973)
Hitler: The Last Ten Days takes us into the depths of der Furher's Berlin bunker during his final days. Based on the book by Gerhard Boldt, it provides a bleak look at the goings-on within, and without.
The style of the film is a little interesting. You'll quickly notice that "above ground" things are all in black-and-white, while "below" everything is in color. This makes perfect sense, as we start the film in B/W with a horrific and brief look at Hitler's rise to power.
Inside the bunker, there are moments where we're suddenly cast "above", to the horrors and generally atrocious conditions that exist there. Usually these moments come in stark contrast to some outlandishly false or otherwise arrogant statement by Adolf, or some instance where the relative luxury and comfort of the bunker has been shown to us. I have to say, it really works quite well. Just as we start to "accept" said luxury, we're thrown back to reality.
Playing Hitler is the venerable Alec Guinness. His portrayal is absolutely amazing, bringing out the man's arrogance and steadfast insanity in sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways.
It is interesting, though, to contrast this portrayal of Hitler to that of the later film Downfall. In that movie we're shown a slightly different picture of a frail and failing old man, who switches back and forth between a pathetic paranoid confusion to utter insane rage. In "Last Ten" Hitler is shown as just constantly paranoid, in a "steady" sort of way. Both versions are equally effective, though, and you have to give Guinness credit for his masterful job here.
The rest of the cast is just as good, really, although unlike Downfall, they take a back seat to Guinness.
Of course we all know the ending, and as is the case the last final moments have to be inferred, but seem to work here. Although the ending seems a little too triumphant and, well, written for the screen as the entire remaining staff lights up their cigarettes in defiance of the now deceased Furher....
No matter. The Last Ten Days is still a fine bit of film, even if it is ultimately depressing and predictable. (hey, what were you expecting?)
Curiously, Hitler: The Last Ten Days is rated PG. In the first few moments alone, I think it's clear that this is a bit more than that, as we're shown some of the awful bits of stock film from events during the war, from the horrors of the camps, and later reels such as the citizens carving up horses for food as they're served up steak and wine in the bunker....
It is interesting to contrast the two viewpoints of Boldt in this film, versus the viewpoint of the secretary Traudi Junge in Downfall. A lot of the same events are covered, but the perspective and ultimate telling of the story really is quite different.
No clips. Looks like Downfall-itis has infected this one as well.
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Summary: Hitler: The Last Ten Days takes us into the depths of der Furher's Berlin bunker during his final days. Based on the book by Gerhard Boldt, it provides a bleak look at the goings-on within, and without.