Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Black Fox The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler|
Actor: Marlene Dietrich
Director: Louis Clyde Stoumen
BLACK FOX is the story of the most feared and fanatical national leader in all history. His bitter boyhood in Austria. His frustrated ambition to be an artist. His four years of soldiering in the First World War. His ruthl... more »
A cool, qualified telling.
Volunteer of America | Austin, Texas | 09/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marlene Dietrich's cool, realistic narration of a disgraceful tale adds a new dimension to the often told details of Hitler's rise and fall. As a German and a contemporary of the Fuhrer's, she is well qualified to tell the story, and her measured tones do a great job of expressing the inexplicable nature of this so-recent piece of history. I appreciated the way she confronted her fellow countrymen's acceptance of this criminal; her references to myth and legend, along with the eerie music, are most atmospheric. The archival video and stills are clear and not cliched."
Accurate, but . . . .
East Bay Vinny | 02/28/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe a half hour's worth of documentary in an hour and a half film, and nothing that you couldn't get in a William Shirer book or BBC's "World at War" series. In fact, most of this information is available in children's history books, and this film offers no new insight or angles. The only thing that kept me watching was the historical video footage, which has been cleaned up nicely compared to that on "World at War." Still, i was compelled to fast-forward through the protracted telling of a Goethe fairy tale (?!) with accompanying art. The awkward soundtrack music and thickly accented narrator also detracted from the experience."
Still A Work of Art
James Morris | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 04/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am puzzled by the number of poor reviews this DVD receives here. I think some perspective is needed to truly appreciate what a fine film it really is.
First of all, it was a stroke of genius for director Louis Clyde Stouman to engage the great Marlene Dietrich to narrate his film. In 1962, actresses of her caliber simply did not consent to narrate documentaries. She had long been recognized as one of the most glamorous "stars" of Hollywood's Golden era, and is estimated in some quarters to be the most photographed woman of all time. Even so, she forsook the glamour of Hollywood life in 1941 to tour tirelessly for four years with British and American troops all over Europe; she was with Charles de Gaulle as he triumphantly marched into a newly Liberated Paris in 1944, having taken the opportunity of her first American film in 1932 to flee Germany, and not return until she knew Hitler was out of power. Miss Dietrich's talent as an actress and her humanity as an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime was exceeded only by her hate of the Nazis. She did not hesitate to take her countrymen to task for allowing themselves to be duped by the fast-talking, politically astute Fuhrer, even at the cost that many of her fellow Germans considered her a traitor long after the fall of Berlin.
I have been a follower of the career of Marlene Dietrich for years; not so much a fan as an admirer, I admit she has made her share of terrible films. The Black Fox is not one of them. I had heard about this film and was anxious to see it for many years; only recently did I learn that this DVD had become available. I purchased it as soon as I learned it had been released, and I am not even slightly disappointed with it. Thrilled would be more the word I would use.
In 1962, the world was still shaking from the enormity of the Nazi bloodbath, and television and film documentaries with lurid photos and "gloom and doom" narrators abounded. The creators of the Black Fox wanted to bring a fresh look at what was then fast becoming the stuff of tabloid horror stories, and hit upon the idea of having the career of Hitler compared to the 12th century folk tale of Reynard the Fox, as Goethe's adaptation lent itself to a striking similarity to the career of the Nazi dictator. More striking still was Miss Dietrich's calm narration, which was almost devoid of any emotion or theatrics. The director purposely had her refrain from dramatics and hysteria, and it was a testament to her skills as an actress that despite her hatred of all that Hitler stood for, she was able to follow Mr. Stouman's instruction to keep the story calm and factual. Rarely raising her voice, which, for the most part is as soothing as a lullaby, her gentle tones smoothly contrast the horrors of the Nazi regime. At one point during her description of the murderous atrocities that unfold before us, she veers for but a brief moment from her carefully guarded coldness. "And the children," she says, her voice raising and breaking ever so slightly, "they didn't even spare the children". It is the only time she raises her pitch above a calculated monotone; the effect is chilling, and you get a small idea of how emotional the experience must have been for her. Indeed, just a few years earlier in Judgment At Nuremburg, she portrayed the widow of a Nazi commander, condemned to hang for crimes against humanity, with the same calm detachment and coolness that belied the emotion she must have felt underneath. Complete with original music, performed by the Julliard String Quartet, and artwork by Picasso and other masters, The Black Fox was judged a work of art by the critics at the time of its release, and named the Best Documentary Feature of 1962 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and sciences. Nearly fifty years later, time has only slightly diminished its effectiveness.
Dull and outdated
Reader | 02/08/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I did not notice the date on the video - it is made in 1961. The photographs are good, and the fairy tale connection interesting. But the narrator (actress Marlene Dietrich) seems dull and monotonous, and the narration is too basic/does not capture the viewer's interest. A book on the holocaust or a more contemporary documentary of the same subject is recommended to this."