DVD Review – Hitler: A Career

Hitler: A Career
Directed by: Joachim Fest and Christian Herrendoerfer
Distributed by: First Run Features

Nothing will kill a swingin’ party like throwing on a copy of ‘Hitler: A Career’. This 151 minute long, 1977 documentary is the ultimate guide in how NOT to entertain. As it should be. The definitive film about one of the world’s most notorious, disgusting, pathetic madman’s ability to charm an entire country, convincing them to dress like Star Wars villians and take over the world is not meant to entertain, but rather play as a reminder of a very low point in human history.

greeting_hitler.jpgThe film follow’s a pretty basic format, tracking Hitler’s rise and fall through archival footage. A narrator fills in the details as we watch the world’s most notorious madman somehow convince an entire country of his plan to rule the world. In what is probably the most astonishing aspect of World War 2, the German people simply follow orders in what seems like a massive case of temporary insanity. The whole thing reminds me of the famous Milgram experiment in which a subject would give electric shocks to a person (played by an actor, unbenownst to the subject) whenever they would fail to answer a question correctly. Ultimately it was a test of obedience, and the results showed that people were willing to do almost anything when being told by an authority figure. The follow up experiment showed even more interesting results as people were told to shock a puppy, this time receiving actual shocks, right before their own eyes. Milgram’s conclusion: ‘If a system of death camps were set up in the United States of the sort we had seen in Nazi Germany, one would be able to find sufficient personnel for those camps in any medium-sized American town.’

Thirty years after its original release, ‘Hitler: A Career’ still holds up as a powerful film, even if it doesn’t really contain any historical information you probably hadn’t already known. As a text book document of ‘How Human’s Can Go Horribly Awry’, it’s the perfect reminder of an embarassingly disgusting legacy led by a madman who convinced an entire country to see things his way.

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