Adolf Hitler in Popular Culture - Representations of Hitler After His Death

Representations of Hitler After His Death

After his death, Hitler continued to be depicted as incompetent or foolish. However, while Hitler's anti-Semitic policies were well known during his lifetime, it was only after his death that the full extent of the Holocaust and other Nazi genocides became known. This, coupled with Hitler no longer being a threat, has meant that the way he is depicted in popular culture has resulted in Hitler being considered evil personified.

The 2003 television film Hitler: The Rise of Evil stars Robert Carlyle in the title role and depicts a semi-fictional account of Hitler's life from childhood to the new position of Führer und Reichskanzler, completing his ascension to full totalitarian, dictatorial power in Germany.

Moloch (1999), directed by Alexander Sokurov, starring Leonid Mozgovoy, deals with Hitler's life on his Berghof mountain retreat near Berchtesgaden during the war, drawing heavily from Hitler's Table Talk published after the war.

Hitler's last days have been depicted in several films, first in Der letzte Akt (1955), directed by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, starring Albin Skoda as the dictator; next was the fifth and final installment of the Soviet film series Liberation (1969–72), directed by Yuri Ozerov, starring Fritz Diez (an actor who commonly portrayed Hitler in a number of East German films from 1955 onwards). The Death of Adolf Hitler, a British (7 January 1973) made-for-television production, starring Frank Finlay in the title role, and Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973), directed by Ennio de Concini, starring Sir Alec Guinness were the first Western contributions. The fifth iteration was the U.S. television film The Bunker (1981), directed by George Schaefer, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins. Finally, there was the Academy Award–nominated Downfall (2004), directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel and starring Bruno Ganz as Hitler. Similarly depicting Hitler's final hour in the bunker, short film Hundert Jahre Adolf Hitler - Die letzte Stunde im Führerbunker (1989), directed by Christoph Schlingensief, starring Udo Kier, cannot be considered a remake of the above films in the proper sense.

Another example of Hitler representations are comedy films such as Mel Brooks' comedy The Producers featured a satirical play-within-a-play called Springtime for Hitler, featuring dancing Nazis and songs about the conquest of Europe. Brooks' later comedy, History of the World, Part I, featured "Hitler on Ice." Hitler was also portrayed in the film Valkyrie by David Bamber, which tells the story of the July 1944 bomb attempt on his life.

Hitler has also been portrayed in experimental films. Hitler: A Film from Germany (1978), a 4-part, 442-minute experimental film on Hitler, directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, starring Heinz Schubert. A similar non-linear approach to Syberberg's, likening Hitler to a movie director as well, was used in the film The Empty Mirror (1996), directed by Barry J. Hershey, starring Norman Rodway, speculating what if Hitler had survived World War II, lives in a secret subterranean bunker, and is today undergoing psychoanalysis conducted by Sigmund Freud.

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