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So weit die Füße tragen (2001)
Revolutionary content, heartbreaking script.
A revolution took place and the german media never mentioned it: Except from some ignorant right wingers the general media was not willing to comment on this first major production on the topic of german prisoners of war. The original version from the fifties and the book are interesting - this movie is watchable for a big public. I appreciate the courage of the moviemakers to touch this forbidden legacy of germany. Great, heartbreaking cinema, that leaves you in tears at the end - as far as I am concerned.
Band of Brothers (2001)
breathtaking when it comes to close combat
A great mini that will probably never run on german tv. I can´t remember seeing such strong, almost breathtaking scenes, when it comes to combat. The camera guides right into battle. It´s the type of description of reality of war, I only remember from the book "Stahlgewitter` of german author ernst juenger. Though I like Band of Brothers for a certain sense of reality, I am afraid most us-productions (including this one) are not very realistic when it comes to the germans in ww2 - or as you probably would say - the nazis. This became a fact to me after listening to many american war movies and especially the american version of "the boat", a german war movie. The parts of the german soldiers in their translation were turned into some ridiculous comic-sadist style. I guess americans will never understand that war is evil on all sides - until they will share the terror of an industrialized war in their own country. An experience they never made. So all you american war buffs, you want some real germans at war and not through your glasses of rambo/bush stereotypes? Then watch "Stalingrad (J. Vilsmaier)` or "Cross of Iron (S. Peckinpah)`. Or one of the german movies I commented on. Still I liked BoB for entertainment and the type of realism you also found in the close combat scenes of "saving private james ryan.`
D-Day the Sixth of June (1956)
A D-Day-Movie with a touch of romance? **SPOILERS**
Love Affair on Omaha Beach
A D-Day-Movie with a touch of romance? Here it is and this is how they do it: Captain Parker, waiting aboard an american battleship for the attack on the normandy. Usually the war would begin now. Not in this one: A flashback brings Robert Taylor back to england, where he fell in love with an old british general´s daughter, played by Dana Wynters. The most dangerous mission of the movie: Taylor, the captain, has a wife at home in the states while the english girl has a husband (Colonel Winter). When she tells him it´s over, he has to return to his unit on the ship. Surprise: Leader of the unit is Colonel Winter. 80 minutes of romantic flashback end here. Parkers´men land on the section of omaha beach. Winter kicks a bucket and dies, Parker (Taylor) gets his girl, america wins the war.
Das Boot (1981)
And the golden Torpedo goes to: DAS BOOT!
Here it is, the all-time-fave and standard portrait on world war 2
under the sea. Juergen Prochnow in the role of the "Kaleu" that
made him known throughout the world. Wolfgang Petersen
directed this crown of all submarine movies ever done. Nothing
can describe the fear inflicting, nameless horrors of the
claustrophobic atmosphere aboard U 96 on its mission. This
movie is history itself and will never be defeated - in contrast to the
crew of U 96: When they return from their odyssee through fear
and relief, all but one of them get killed while being welcomed by
"Das Boot" exists as the classic cinema movie, there also is a
TV-series and a Director´s Cut out. One last hint: The german
original version beats the english translation, which has terribly
poor dialogues including classical Hollywood-Nazilanguage; the
kind of talking that never happened in the third reich but only in
black & white-minded war movies...
Halls of Montezuma (1951)
One of the rare american war movies with a certain sense of
reality: Richard Widmark as a platoon leader conquering the
pacific island of okinawa. From the long waiting time before the
attack on the battleship, to the landing operation on the shores of
okinawa, to the painful losses of his men, we follow these serious
looking americans. Their faces seem motionless and two of the
officers, including Widmark, have psychosomatic war syndroms.
The killing is no fun in this movie, the dying is no fun to watch. All in
all, not very entertaining, but a lesson in war, much more realistic
than later US-movies on the same topic.
The Enemy Below (1957)
Clash of the Titans: Mitchum versus Juergens
One fine piece of art - if the category fits for war movies. This is the scenario: World War 2, atlantic ocean, germans against the allied forces, now supported by their american friends. Curd Juergens as a german submarine commander, Robert Mitchum as the new commander of a battleship. A true study of what these two great actors can put in ninety minutes of pure tension. It starts with statements by both men: They don´t like war, they´re just part of the big war machine. The german captain is not a nazi, the american commander does not hate his enemy below. Now the duelists take their positions and battle each other with all they have, intelligence, courage, humor and - guns. What I like most about it is, that both men survive and still the movie´s ending is acceptable - even for that almost dark genre of war movies.
The Wild Geese (1978)
Battle of Britain revisited
What a fine war movie that is: From the depths of africa, a freedom
loving leader of his people, once free and now held hostage by an
evil army, has to be liberated by a commando: the senior allstars
of england´s movie actors. Britain´s proud sons on their way
through the boot camp and later on, the woods of the dark
continent. Men with faces like these are made for battles! It seems
to me that I know all of them: From the "Battle of Britain" or "A
Bridge to far" I can´t exactly remember. Still, I like these guys a lot,
even though they glorify war and chauvinist ideology in this one. I
know, I know... But who could judge Roger Moore and Richard
Burton for these crimes?
a warrior and weirdo in ww2.
Colorful, weird picture on an american legend: General Patton, an american general and , if the movie is right, a very interesting character, too. He reminds me of german writer ernst juenger and other european intelectuals, much more than of the typical all american war heros... Patton was into classic greek history and wrote poems. At the same time he slapped a GI in the face for being scared of the enemy and risked his mens´ lifes for unnecessary war operations. He loved uniforms and guns, preferred the nazis from the russian allied forces and lost his job as a commanding officer at the end of ww2 for telling journalists about his views. A successful man of war and a very strange personality indeed... Still a good movie.
one man of honor, played by one superb actor.
This picture presents the story of a legendary wehrmacht general,
both in german and in international perspective a true war hero:
Fieldmarshall Rommel, this famous desert fox of the legendary
africa corps. A soldier and also part of the resistance in the third
reich´s military class.
Focussing on the war years, we follow him to his triumphs against
the giant allied war machine: Tactical skills and unconventional
warfare made him famous for winning in no-win situations. When
involving in the resistance movement, the trouble begins. In the
end he is taken away by the secret service, being remembered as
a man of honor. James Mason is a superb character playing the
Strafbataillon 999 (1960)
Rarely handled topic, weak characters.
The prisoner bataillons of the german army were basically troops,
where the soldiers were sent, who could not be tolerated in nazi
germany´s army - for there political backgrounds or other reasons
and confessions. In general they were labeled as criminals.
These commandos had to accomplish most dangerous missions. Many times these missions ended up in "Himmelfahrtskommandos", that led these men straight to their
graves. Bataillon 999 tells the story of these man. Interesting real
live background, though the characters described have their
weaknesses. The story of this movie is from a book by german
writer Konsalik, also known for other novels on worldwar 2.
U47 - Kapitänleutnant Prien (1958)
Not "the boat", still fun to watch
Nothing in submarine war movies will ever get close to "Das Boot", that is for sure. This picture from the fifties takes a perpective partly based on the case of a "Kaleu" - a Kapitänleutnant who really existed and was used by german propaganda in ww2 for his courage and tactical creativity. It is a well done picture from these days, when other german war movies of the post-war period from today´s point of view had a lack of brilliance in both action and historical accuracy. This one has Dieter Eppler and Joachim Fuchsberger in it, struggling against inner and outer enemies. Dieter Borsche, playing a priest, tries to win Prien for "Wiederstand"-activities: the german resistance. A nice gimmick is Harald Juhnke, Germany´s number one entertainer in the 1980´s with a notorious drinking problem in real life, plays the "smutje", the cook in the submarine crew: Bigmouthed, always drunk and fun to watch.
Des Teufels General (1955)
A great movie with one great actor.
Curd Juergens, Germany´s famous actor of the fifties and sixties, here playing a part that made him a star: The Devil´s General is an airforce general with extraordinary success in building new warplanes for the luftwaffe in ww2. At the same time, he is definitely not a nazi, not a bureaucrat but a party animal and a human being with a certain sense that everybody should be treated as human beings. This makes him an enemy to the high ranks of the SS and at the same a potential partner for people of the german resistance. In the end, he pays the bill for being part of a system, he never really said "no" to. A great movie with one great actor.
Red Dawn (1984)
Battleground USA: The russians have arrived...
Achtung: This is a very personal review for sure... Let me start with my perspective on this movie 16 years ago:
1984 when I was fifteen years old, it came to our town. German
politics back then were very careful when making clear statements
and very soft and weak while corresponding with other nation´s
leaders. The only strength allowed was the enormous financial
wealth of our country. By that time, many germans demonstrated
against american missiles and there was a lot of discussion
going on in the schools. Patriotism was something for the radical
underground and the german guilt to me seemed to be a daily
topic... Still the silent majority of people, non-intellectuals, working
class and small business people felt a lot different about these
things. To me, this movie said it all! It expressed my hate for the
russians invading afghanistan, my disgust for the public and
politicians who back then seemed to be a bunch of week
Now, things are different and the picture is not more than an action
movie, way too long to hold the tension over the whole distance...
Still to me it remains as a symbol for these days, when politics
were a daily topic in my life... I warned you this one would be
The last big picture of the third reich...
First of all, this one will not be out in the stores or at your local rent-a-flick...The movie is the last effort of 1945´s german movie propaganda to strengthen the people´s will to fight on. Therefore, this - as many other propaganda pictures - is not offered to the public. Still, you might get it in universities with an interest in history of the third reich.
The story of the movie is not all that important... What matters is the great heinrich george, the rich colours, the hateful atmosphere of the movie - and the tragedy of reality as a background: Shortly after the making of "kolberg" was finished, germany was finished either:
The movie has a romantic perspective on a reactionary, aggressive, irrational and leader-oriented ideology... Not too far away from John Wayne, though I find him very entertaining as a green beret, either.
Rommel ruft Kairo (1959)
In the desert, then in cairo, then it´s over.
Now, this movie is another typical example of german moviemaker´s perspective on ww2 in the fifties - though they almost were over. The story: a commando unit with a mission has to take the long road through the desert to reach cairo. The message: german wehrmacht in africa and the german spies were nice guys and should not be mistaken as nazis.This seems to be a cheap flick, in some rare moments reminding of "Lohn der Angst" - a real classic on men in the wilderness with a survival problem... Exploitation specialists and admirers of the africa korps might have fun with it - even though the tension never gets anywhere close to the real classics...
Der Stern von Afrika (1957)
Picture on Romance & Luftwaffe, done in fifties-style
The story shows the career of a once famous german flyer nobody remembers today... After ww2, these guys, who were styled to be the pop stars of the third reich, still were quite popular. People didn´t think of them as nazis or war criminals, but as young men with a noble profession: Pilots of the german luftwaffe. The picture has a lot of air fights, a love affair and oldfashioned acting in it. If that is something you like, take a closer look at the video that is still available in germany.
The books are better, the picture is entertaining...
The discussion on the topic of the wehrmacht´s crimes is on again in germany since a new exhibition was on the road last year... Now here´s a picture from the mid-fifties that takes a look at a simple soldier in the third reich´s regular army: A whole different perspective. Sure, there are no war crimes in it though the wehrmacht committed war crimes - especially in eastern europe - no doubt about it. Still, the partly authentic atmosphere - as I suppose - is the result of the little time that went by from the war to the making of this movie - only 9 years after ww2. Very entertaining, but the books are even better.
Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben (1959)
Thirteen Years was too short to get the point
This black&white picture deals mainly with the german armies on the eastern front- starting with all the glamour of third reich parades and the comradeship even in russia´s tough winters - then finally collapsing into Stalingrad, the major breakdown of all hopes for a german victory...
Some of the acting from todays point of view seems melodramatic and the perspective towards General Paulus and other officers in high ranks is a lot different from how historians of the nineties would describe them. The movie gives an impression of a group of men, who keep fighting though they have already lost. I like the movie, still thirteen years was probably too short to get the point really...
So weit die Füße tragen (1959)
WW2 in the eyes of german public in the fifities
I like this mini a lot, because it has a lot of good acting in it: Often it seems to happen on stage, due to the lots of studio takes that are supposed to show us Sibiria at it´s worst and also as a result of the classic stage acting education the actors involved enjoyed... The movie gives a clear perspective of what the german public felt about the pow´s and mia´s in the fifities and war in general: It was too early to reflect upon the problem as complex as it really was. The revolution of the sixties that painfully opened the eyes of our grandparents and parents generation for the cruelties of WW2 and the holocaust was not in sight: Twenty years later everything looks a lot different...