Der Letzte Akt

Georg W. Pabst

It. t.: L’ultimo atto. Int. t.: The Last Ten Days. Scen: Fritz Habeck. F.: Günther Anders. M.: Herbert Taschner. Mus.: Erwin Halletz. Int.: Albin Skoda (Adolf Hitler), Oskar Werner (Hauptmann Wüst), Erik Frey (General Burgdorf), Herbert Herbe (generalKrebs),  Kurt Eilers (Martin Bormann), Hannes Schiel (SS lieutenant colonel Günsche), Willy Krause (Joseph Goebbels), Otto  Schmöle (colonel general Jodl), Hermann Erhardt (Hermann Göring). Leopold Hainisch (feldmaresciallo  Keitel). Prod.: Carl Szokoll per Cosmopol-Film GmbH
35mm. Bn. D.: 113′.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The development of The Last Ten Days started with a military judge at Nuremberg, Michael Musmanno, who wrote an outline based on extensive documentation. Erich Maria Remarque eas ordered to write the script. Obviously the film went into the midst of political turmoil. Conservatives detected an effort to make money with an anti-German film, the left was worried that the film would provoke Nazi nostalgia. The last Ten Days, along with another contemporary Pabst film Il Happened on July 20th, were targets for accusations, and because of this they shared with several West Ger man films the dubious tendency to make Hitler and his loyal cohorts responsible foer everything. Films might describe growing mental deterioration and erratic behavior in detail, and then suggest that without these few criminal minds nothing too bad would have happened, that the majority of Germans were decent people, and that a standard character, the ‘good German’, here played by Oskar Werner, fits that picture. Pabst managed to create a claustrophobic atmosphere (the oppressive space of the bunker, its strange lighting and low ceilings, shadows dancing on the walls) with the stilisti reportory that had made him famous years before. It’s a psychological picture as well a san apocalyptic vision of political leadership in collapse, with strongly ironic undertones. Marc Silberman wrote about the original plan that would have “projected Hitler a san Elizabethan tragic hero who, replete with stagey monologue, must play the price for his hubris in the eponomis last act. A usurper of power like Richard III, a murderous Macbeth with no gualms or guilt, thi is the Hitler whose tragedy brings about the disintegration of the world around him. Ultimately, however, Pabst is unable to realize the tragic dimension of his material and takes refuge in melodrama, a form of reductive tragedy”. Yet, much remains: this is Pabst’s best post-WWII film, along, with two 1940s films, The Trial and Mysterious Shadows.

                                                                                                                                                                              Peter von Bagh

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