Review of The Fall of the Third Reich (1965)

Moving picture, 140 minutes

Seen in 2016.

Coloured, of course, by its origin in the one-party state: The dead Stalin is criticized for failing to prepare, the harsh winter is rejected as the explanation for heroic victory at Stalingrad, and the whole thing is predictably bombastic and sentimental compared to the UK-oriented The World at War (1973). Like The World at War, this film spends too much time on artillery pieces being filmed in relative safety from behind the lines. The most interesting thing about it is the narrator’s rhetoric, acknowledging above all the horror of the war and explaining why, even in a time of peace, that horror must be recalled, to prevent anything like it happening again. In that regard, the footage of Soviet tanks rolling into Prague is particularly ironic, since they rolled back into Prague just three years after this film was released, and the people weren’t cheering the second time around.

moving picture non-fiction