Helmut Griem

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The Damned Review


OK
Think of it as The Magnificent Nazi Ambersons. Luchino Visconti (Death in Venice) weaves a fictionalized account of 1933-34 Germany as the Nazis rise to power. He follows one family in particular, a wealthy upper-crust bunch of industrialists who throw their lot in with the Nazis, despite some clear abuses in the horizon. These are the titular damned -- having sold their souls pretty much literally in the pursuit of even more wealth.

Along the way Visconti tosses a litany of decadence at us. As if Nazism wasn't enough, we get incest in the family, a little pedophilia, and some cross-dressing and homosexual hijinks. It all culminates in a bloodbath -- the historical "Night of the Long Knives," a one-night, bloody purge of dissidents in Hitler's old private army, the SA (predecessor to the SS), brought on by fears of a coup against his budding rule. Hitler's rule would be solidified after this history-making event.

Continue reading: The Damned Review

Cabaret Review


Good
Liza Minnelli's most famous work has her star as American singer Sally Bowles in 1930s Germany, where she falls for two men (including one bisexual) while trying to make ends meet singing at the Kit Kat Club, all while the Nazi rise to power builds around them. Much-lauded, Fosse's look at pre-Nazi Germany is pretty uneven and uninspired -- his work is far better when we're inside the Kit Kat Club where there's singing and dancing to be had. Also of note, the sound on this film is wretchedly bad to the point of near unwatchability. Originally based on the book Berlin Stories.
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