The Death of Adolf Hitler (1973) 

 

 

 

 

Director:    Rex Firkin.

Starring:    Frank Finlay (Adolf Hitler),  Raymond Adamson (Field Marshall Keitel),  Cyril Appleton (1st Guard),  Sean Arnold (2nd Guard),  Lindsay Barker (Holde Goebbels),  Richard Bebb (Grand Admiral Doenitz),  Peter Blythe (Dr. Stumpfegger),  Willy Bowman (Field Marshall Von Greim),  Carole Boyd (Fraulein Manzialy),  Harry Brooks Jr. (Axmann),  Alan Brown (Telephone Adjutant),  John Carlin (Zanger),  Robert Cawdron (Hermann Goering),  Richard Champion (Lorenz),  Martine Chapman (Hedda Goebbels),  Laidlaw Dalling (2nd Adjutant),  David de Keyser (Narrator),  Ed Devereaux (Martin Bormann),  Peter Elliott (Sewer Queer),  Jonathan Elsom (Linge),  Norman Ettlinger (Vice-Adm. Voss),  Julian Fox (Colonel Von Below),  Derek Francis (Prof. Morell),  Mary Henry (Sewer Prostitute),  Inigo Jackson (Hermann Fegelein),  Clare Jenkins (Grete Fegelein),  Myvanwy Jenn (Hanna Reitsch),  David Landon (2nd SS Man),  Michael Lees (Albert Speer),  Andrew Lodge (1st SS Man),  Marion Mathie (Magda Goebbels),  Ray McAnally (Dr. Gebhardt),  Dan Meaden (Guensche),  Wanda Moore (Traudl Junge),  Caroline Mortimer (Eva Braun),  Lisa Moss (Heide Goebbels),  Suzanne Ozanne (Rape Victim),  Mandy Perryment (Helga Goebbels),  Mark Praid (Helmut Goebbels),  Oscar Quitak (Joseph Goebbels),  Michael Richmond (Sewer Breadseller),  John Ringham (Walter Wagner),  Mitzi Rogers (Gerda Christian),  Clifford Rose (Gen. Koller),  Hector Ross (General Burgdorf),  Sabre (Blondi),  Sally Sanders (Whore),  Michael Sheard (Heinrich Himmler),  Tara Soppet (Liesl),  Tony Steedman (Gen. Alfred Jodl),  Marion Thanisch (Hilde Goebbels),  Geoffrey Toone (Von Ribbentrop),  Michael Turner (General Krebs).

from his birthday on April 20, 1945 until his death by desperate suicide

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

On Hitlerís birth date there are many German leaders there to wish him a happy birthday. Among them are: Martin Bormann, party secretary and Hitlerís chief assistant;;Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda and one of Hitlerís oldest friends; Hermann Goering, Deputy Leader and Head of the Air Force; Heinrich Himmler, Minister of the Interior and head of the SS; and Eva Braun, Hitlerís mistress for many years.

Generals Jodl and Keitel think up a scheme they want Hitler to believe he thought of. They want to create a southern command over which they can be in charge.

Eva kisses Hitler. He asks her how can she be so calm when the Russians are coming? She says all she has to do is accept things.

Hitler meets with his staff for the latest military news. The two generals say that there is a great danger of the Western Allies splitting Germany into two parts. Hitler says that they may have stumbled onto something and the generals act as if they are surprised. Hitler says they will split Germany into a northern and southern sector and attack the Allies on both flanks.

Keitel and Jodl are put in charge in the south, although Hitler says he may take that command himself. Albert Speer has already blown up the bridges and anything worth having. Himmler volunteers himself to be commander in the north, but Hitler rejects the idea. He needs Himmler to make sure the extermination of the Jews goes on to eliminate the last of that race. For northern commander he wants Grand Admiral Doenitz to take charge. The Admiral is really caught off-guard. He stammers around and then asks for full air support from the air force.

This sends Hitler into a vociferous rant and beat-down of Herman Goering, the head of the Air Force. He demands to know what Goering has done with 4,000 planes. He says he wouldnít put it past Goering to have sold the planes either to the Allies or to the Jews. Goering says heís leaving. Hitler screams for him to remain where he is. He calls Goering an incompetent pig. He says they wouldnít be in this mess if it were not for Goering who has betrayed the party, the army and the leader. Goering starts crying. After everyone leaves Boorman asks a colleague if any country in the world has as its leader of the air force a man who cries?

Hitler is alone admiring his architectural model for a future city he plans to build. Martin Boorman comes in to speak with Hitler, but the leader tells him to go away. Instead of leaving Boorman says he wants to speak about Hermann Goering. The man is disloyal and will lose the war for Germany. Eva comes in. Again Hitler tells him to get out, he has no soul. Eva also tells Boorman to get out. Hitler says that he loves Hermann Goering and wonders if Martin knows what the word means.

Dr. Gebhardt comes to see Hitler. He explains to Hitler that he is Heinrich Himmlerís physician. Himmler couldnít come himself so he sent the doctor to offer the leader a personal escort for the purpose of leaving Berlin. Hitler becomes infuriated at this and tells the doctor to get out. Before he goes the doctor asks Hitler to make him the head of the Red Cross. (And this from a doctor who has been experimenting on the so-called "Jewish creatures".) And once again Hitler becomes infuriated and screams at the doctor. Then he asks why should he appoint the doctor to be head of the Red Cross? Because he has taken skin crafts from some Jews and grafted them onto other Jews with a 90% percent rate of success. Hitler asks him will the Jewish skin grafts be successful on human beings? Yes. So Hitler appoints him to the office. Hitler is a bit squeamish and he refuses to look at the photographs of the doctorís work. And then when the doctor grabs a lamp shade made of Jewish skin Hitler gets angry again and tells him to get out. Finally the doctor actually leaves.

Alone Hitler starts to become sick to his stomach. He grabs a bunch of photos, runs out of the room and throws them at the doctor and the leaderís own staff, shouting unintelligible things. He then goes back into the architectural model room, grabs one of the human skin lamps, comes out again and throws it at the doctor screaming more unintelligible things. Then he runs past his private secretary and into the bathroom to throw up. He slowly regains his composure.

Eva wants Adolf (who she calls Addy) to come to bed with her. He starts talking about a what if scenario where he and Churchill would have teamed up against the Soviet Union. Eva calls again for Adolf to come to bed. We see them latter in bed but with Hitler with his clothes still on. Eva says it was lovely (implying they had sex, even though witnesses testified that Hitler never had sex with Eva in the bunker). She asks him to take his uniform off and come to bed. Eva says he shouldnít always go to bed with his uniform on. Hitler says, another time.

Hitler gets out of bed when he hears a big explosion outside. He goes to a private bedroom to sleep. There is a flashback scene with different characters: a bread and cake vendor, a female prostitute and a male prostitute. He starts screaming and is awakened by his staff.

Hitler speaks with his staff again. He wants to know where is General Steiner. Is he engaged against the Russians? Jodl finally tells Hitler that the Russians have totally surrounded Steiner and his army and that the army will be destroyed. "The Russians even now are in the City of Berlin!" Hitler asks Keitel who is his mad friend? He then goes into another violent rant about anyone who wants to leave, can leave. When he calms a little, he says he has made up his mind to stay in Berlin and to die in Berlin. He tells everyone to let Goering negotiate with the Allies.  He leaves.

Keitel and Jodl decide to head south and so they leave the bunker. Admiral Doenitz does not know what he should do.

Magda Goebbels asks the leader if she can bring her children down into the bunker so they can all die together with him. At first he refuses. But Goebbels himself supports the request. Hitler then seems to change his mood completely. He now says that dying in Berlin is out of the question. He goes to his military charts. He says there is the German Twelfth Army available to save Berlin.

Albert Speer comes to speak with the leader. He has come to say good-bye.  Magda brings all her children to the bunker. Her husband doesnít want the children to die, but Magda absolutely insists. She tells the children they are on vacation in the bunker.  Speer objects to the order to destroy everything of value in Germany. He becomes very animated and tells the leader that he has preserved everything and will continue to do so as long as he is not shot. He has deliberately disobeyed his orders, because the leader is wrong! He adds: "I do not know how it is possible to love a man one has learned to despise!" Hitler only says for Speer to say good-bye to Eva before he leaves and thank you for coming.

Boorman stops Speer to tell him that he has just learned that the destruction plans have not been fully implemented. He also says that he must inform the leader. Speer tells him donít bother, he just told the leader. But Boorman marches down to see the leader. He finds him crying. Boorman says: "Iím sorry, Iím so sorry."

The children play board games. Eva chases the kids out of the room so she can speak with Albert Speer in private. Albert canít believe how happy she seems. He asks if the rumor is true about them all dying here in the bunker? Eva tells him not to make her feel sad about it; thereís really no need. She talks about a beautiful afterlife. Albert leaves when her back is turned to him.

Hitler tells his personal physician to get out. Eva sings a lullaby to one of the children. Magda comes in and asks Eva to help her be strong to kill the children. It would be immoral to let the children grow up in a country that is bereft of national socialism.

Goering sends Hitler a wire asking permission to take over Germany for him with complete freedom. Boorman reads the message to Hitler. Hitler goes ballistic again. He shouts that Goering is a traitor, a drug addict and a sexual pervert. He exhausts himself and has to be escorted to another room. He tells his secretaries to get out of the bunker. He says heís not the leader anymore, Goering is. The secretaries tell him they will stay with him.

One of the staff members tells Hitler that he is addicted to an opiate that his physician has been secretly administering to him for years. Now he is suffering from withdrawal pains. He must give him the injection of his agony will be excruciating.

The young boy Helmut Goebbels comes in to ask "uncle" if itís true that they will all die here in the bunker?  Hitler asks who has been telling him this nonsense? He shows Helmut the military map of Berlin and the surrounding area. Some of his staff is invited in and they all listen to Helmutís military strategy. Hitler gives his personal gold Swastika symbol to Helmut and sends him away.

Hitler says the new head of the Air Force will be General Von Greim. A staff members asks how will he get to Berlin? Hitler says knowing our air force he will probably have to walk.

In bed Eva asks Hitler if he loves her. He says: "Iím not sure. I donít think so. Does it matter?" Then why did he pick her?  she asks.  She says that he has been faithful to her ever since becoming leader. Eva says she thinks itís because he has become frightened of other women since he became leader. Hitler becomes infuriated, but this only makes Eva start laughing. Hitler becomes still madder, balling his fists as if to hit her, but it still doesnít stop Eva from laughing.

Both Magda and her husband admit that they both hate the fact that the leader loves their marital partner.

Again Eva asks Hitler to take his clothes off.  He says no. She then asks if he will marry her. He says yes. Eva is thrilled at the news.

A German officer, actually Evaís brother-in-law, walks up the steps very gingerly, while Boorman watches. He is sneaking out of the bunker.

Field Marshall Von Greim is brought down into the bunker with help from the famous German pilot Hanna Reitsch. They are stopped by a guard and Hanna becomes a little disturbed that they are not recognized and immediately allowed in.

Boorman informs Hitler that Gen. Von Greim has arrived. On the way here he lost a foot and is in surgery And if Von Greim got in, then we can still get out.  Hitler is not interested.

For the wedding Hitler tells Eva to wear black, but she may also wear a white carnation. He goes to see Von Greim. He congratulates the man on being the new head of the German air force. Hitler leaves. He is followed by Hanna who is absolutely sycophantic over him, kneeling and kissing his folded hands. She says the German people love him, trust him and adore him. Now she is kissing his shoes. He finally has to scream at her: "Shut up!" He then begs her pardon. He turns to his military staff and yells at them to do something. They scurry away.

Evaís brother-in-law is brought back by force. Eva whispers to herself: "Traitor!"

News arrives to Hitler that the German Twelfth Army no longer exists. He asks Boorman to find out where the General of the Twelfth Army is. Boorman comes back to tell Hitler that he has been betrayed. Himmler is suing for peace with the Allies on the basis of getting rid of the leader. He has been negotiating with Count Bernadotte out of Sweden. Hitler demands the source of the information. Itís from the British Broadcasting Corporation. Hitler wants Himmler dead. He says: "It is the final humiliation. The final betrayal. The final treachery. It is the end of the war. It is the end of Germany. It is the end of Adolf Hitler." He goes off on another rant.

He tells one of his staff to flood the underground. The staff member protests that thousands of people down there use it as their shelter. They will all be drowned. Good, says Hitler. Another rant begins, this one demanding blood, blood, blood.

Goebbels speaks with Hitler in private saying he has no right to take his own life. Hitler will not be moved.  Goebbels then asks for permission to die here with him, the leader, but Hitler says permission refused. He calls in Boorman. He wants to know who will be his own replacement. He chooses Grand Admiral Doenitz. Goebbels will be the new Chancellor of Germany. Goebbels asks again for permission to die and this time Hitler gives his permission.

A minister arrives to marry Eva and Adolf. Hitler says that his German Shepard dog will die first, before him and Eva. A little later the dog is heard barking and whining. There was a miscalculation of the timing of the effect of the poison. The dog is suffering terribly. Hitler shouts at his medical staff man to do something, but then the dog dies.

He has his secretaries make an appointment for his own death. He leaves. Eva comes over and tells the secretaries to make that the death of Hitler and Frau Hitler. The marriage ceremony is held during which Hitler says absolutely nothing, even to the key marital questions.

There is a little reception, but Eva has to call it off when Hitler becomes infuriated again. This time itís because the secretaries can find no written notice of the official decision to seek the final solution for the Jews. The secretaries tell him that they donít think it was ever written down.

Evaís brother-in-law is executed and Adolf and Eva hear it. Eva asks what it is and Hitler tells her. Itís a wedding present to her. Eva looks relieved and laughs.

Hitler comes to check with his two secretaries to see if they have found the notice. They have not. He says that his appointment is drawing near and it will be most unfortunate for all concerned if the notice is not found. One of the secretaries tells the leader not to worry, they will destroy it when it is found. This makes Hitler go crazy again. He doesnít want it destroyed, he wants it as an important document of his attempt to cleanse the earth of filth. He says that if the document is not found, it will make people think that he was too cowardly to write it down. He knocks papers out of the hands of one secretary and throws documents at the other. He starts grabbing whole piles of files and throws them around the room.

Hitler has one of the secretaries write down his last will and political testament. He says he did not want war in 1939. He was provoked by agents who were either half-Jewish or who worked for a Jewish organization. He says he worked for 12 years in service for the German people, who are rats. The secretary looks at him in shock. He says strike that last sentence and then leaves to be with Eva.

The male staff has invited prostitutes to the bunker and are having a wild party.

Eva tells Hitler just to have the final decision memo typed out, put the original date on it and sign it. So Hitler gets out of bed to speak with his secretaries. When he comes into the secretarial room he shouts the question if they have found it yet. They start crying and he yells for them to stop. He canít take their tears.  He dictates the memo. "Kill the Jews!" "Is that all?" says one of the secretaries. "Isnít that enough?" asks Hitler. One secretary says it should be longer. So he dictates a longer statement. The statement is typed out and a secretary brings it to him for his signature. But Hitler refuses to sign it saying he has always done things legally. He wonít sign a document that has a false date on it.  Hitler then proceeds to tear up his architectural model. He then tells the secretary to re-date the document April 30, 1945.

Adolf and Eva say goodbye to their staff. He shakes each hand without saying anything. When he reaches Goebbels at the end he starts to cry. Eva hurriedly takes him away. He shows her the final decision notice. He becomes infuriated with her when he asks her a question and she doesnít know the answer. He rants about man needing to hate others to go on. In the rant rats play a prominent role. He seems to have developed a great aversion to and fear of rats when he was poor and living in the sewers. Eva steadies Adolfís hand to help him shoot himself in the head with a German luger. Eva then takes a poison and dies. Their bodies are burned after their deaths.

 

Good movie about Hitler's last days.  It seems all these films on his last days emphasize the dictator's maniacal rants against his staff and others.  And this film has a lot of his rants.  It seems he started ranting more often than he spoke normally.    One interesting thing was the film's emphasis on Hitler's peculiar sexual dysfunctions.   He wore his uniform even into bed with Eva.  (This is not meant as an insult to homosexuals, but some have even speculated that Hitler was homosexual.)  Even at the start of the movie Hitler doesn't seem completely in touch with reality and this gets worse as the Russians get closer to the bunker.  Was he clinically "crazy" by the time of his suicide. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

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