(Klaus Mann) Haughty toad sucks up to artsy-nazis to progress in the theatre; his Faustian bargain gets him more than expected. It’s not hard to see why the estate of Gustaf Gründgens, the actor whose role as Mephistopheles bewitched that drama-lover Goering, sought to have the book banned by a German constitutional Court (in the old days they would simply have lobbed it on the bonfire).

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Twelve O’Clock High

November 5, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, WW2 |

(dir. H. King) (1949) Bureaucratic office thriller masquerading as WWII bomber film.  If Gregory Peck chewed out a shirker today  as he lashes Hugh Marlowe, he’d be prosecuted for bullying.    

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The Sorrow and the Pity

(dir. M Ophuls) (1969) A leisurely pace prevails, as diverse men chat about France under German occupation.  This casual approach belies the serious and vital theme that slowly works into the brain and heart:  courage and conscience under duress and in crisis.  

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The Merry-go-Round in the Sea

(by Randolph Stow) The great Australian family-at-war yarn. The scene of Rick and Jane on the beach is the literary high watermark of dates gone wrong.

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I Shall Bear Witness

(by Victor Klemperer) Despite some confusing Anne Frank with a Nazi (see: Rijksmuseum moments), her diary is mandatory reading and so should be this diary of German Jewish academic, Victor Klemperer. He lived in Germany throughout the Nazi reign and this volume, covering 1933 to 1941, reveals the incremental march to holocaust. Each little step led to the next and so on, quickening in pace: May ’33: Klemperer can still lecture in Romance languages and literature at Dresden but he complies with a ‘request’ to no longer conduct exams; by May ’35, he is dismissed from his post; by October…

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