Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Double Headed Eagle: Hitler's Rise to Power 1918-1933 (1973)

Director: Lutz Becker

Starring: Adolf Hitler & Pals

More info: IMDb

Plot: A different and disturbing look at the rise of the Nazi party, Lutz Becker's documentary is unique in that it tries to stay as objective as possible, seeking to make the viewing experience like being a neutral bystander to the events of the years 1918-1933 in Germany. Using mostly newsreel footage and clips of features from the era, Becker provides a kaleidoscopic view of the Germany and the many factors that led to the rise of the Socialist Nationalist Party. Of course, Hitler occupies a prominent place in this documentary, and there is some startling footage of him when he was a political neophyte, watching the extremist Nazi party with interest. Startling in its vision of a ravaged Germany trying to fight its way out of poverty after WWI, THE DOUBLE HEADED EAGLE is chilling in its objective view of the Nazi party as it climbs to power, feeding off the desperation of its country.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? I could but I think once was fine.

Nice! There's not an ounce of narration or of any talking heads. It's strictly footage of the period shown in chronological order from the end of the first World War (1918) to Hitler becoming Chancellor of Germany in 1933. It's not without sound, though. Most of the audio was naturally added for this film as most of it was culled from silent film. There is music from time to time and speeches to guide you through what was happening in Germany during this turbulent period, a time of massive unemployment (around 6 million in 1932). It's a fascinating look at how devastating life was in the Weimar Republic and it makes it clearer to see how Hitler was able to take advantage of the situation for his own political and ideological means. The film ends with footage of a book burning at some point after Hitler was named Chancellor and closes with the following, frighteningly telling quote:

That's one hell of an exclamation point to end the picture! It makes an excellent companion piece to the amazing 9-hour + documentary, SHOAH (1985).

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