Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.
- General Wilhelm Burgdorfas General Wilhelm Burgdorf
- (as Justus von Dohnanyi)
Sitting amongst a full-house of patrons here at the Toronto Int'l Film Festival's 2004 edition, Ganz captivated the local audience with the scariest Hitler I've ever seen up on the silver screen -- better than Noah Taylor's English Hitler in MAX just a couple of years back.
Audience members get a glimpse into the final days of Hitler's rule from the bunker deep beneath the Reich Chancellery in Nazi Berlin's dying days. The defeated spirit of the Nazis -- covered extensively in the history books -- has seldomly been more penetratingly shown on the Big Screen. Bravo to director Oliver Hirschbiegel for doing this the right (German) way -- for intrepidly tackling a period piece few German producers might.
I'd had a chance to chat with the actors post-screening, with lead actress Alexandra Maria Lara (playing Traudl Junge) candidly admitting the sheer amount of work she'd diligently invested in bringing her character to life -- doubtless complicated by the death of Frau Junge in 2002. Her research, however, was clearly impeccable and left no stone unturned. Corinna Harfouch wasn't on hand -- as Magda Goebbels. Pity because in many respects, she convincingly stole the show.
So rarely do we see Hitler on screen in modern days to allow us a glimpse into the horrifying nature of a madman bent on global domination. We all know the end of this story, but seldom does a film so masterfully suspend your disbelief than does The Downfall in making you wonder just how the Third Reich might end. Historical fiction might never be the same.
- Sep 15, 2004