I've just watched the film Downfall. Here are some assorted thoughts. I'll number them, if only because numbers will do a more agressive job of forcing some order on them than punctuation could.
- If you're thinking of watching it, but have only seen the YouTube parodies and you think that'll spoil the experience, don't be put off. The real version contains an almost-joke involving cutlery, that is at least as funny as most of them.
- According to the IMDB notes, Hitler wouldn't let anybody record his voice when not publicly ranting. The only known exception is a recording made secretly by the Finnish secret service during a diplomatic meeting, and it is on this that Bruno Ganz based his performance. Hence it comes as a surprise when in "Downfall", Hitler mopes and whinges more than he rants. It's more like being backstage during the interval at a Frankie Boyle show, where the first half hasn't gone down at all well.
- As such, I almost felt quite sorry for old Adolf, though couldn't help thinking he'd brought it all upon himself.
- Even when it's got to the stage when everbody's either getting paralytic drunk or shooting themselves, the toilets are kept spotlessly clean. By whom? we don't know, because the thing about totalitarian fascism is that it never gives credit where it's due.
- Having said that, during several scenes in which the SS is hanging people from lampposts (for, as far as I can make out, not being in the SS) it still feels like the Russians are the baddies.
- For instance, none of Hitler's henchmen gets summarily shot (unless they genuinely want to be). Lately I've read Isaac Deutscher's biography of Stalin, published in 1948 when he didn't know the half of it. Those Oberkommandos didn't know they were born.
- I had a niggling thought that I'd read about the whereabouts of Hitler's telephone. Devon, it turns out.
- There's a bit where Eva Braun admits to sometimes kicking Hitler's dog. Normally it's evil to kick a dog, but is it still evil if it's Hitler's dog? In theory, of course it is. It's not the dog's fault it's Hitler's. All the same, if you did ever meet somebody who'd had a chance to kick Hitler's dog and didn't, wouldn't you consider them slightly complicit in the Nazi regime?
It's hard to know how seriously to take him: he is dressed up as a clown. He's clearly the worse for drink, and that might be just the tip of his mental iceberg. Dior, however, has had to deal with this sort of thing before and can't be too careful. Here's Christian Dior's niece Françoise, and her husband the British Nazi leader Colin Jordan, with some friends: