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The Gleiwitz Case
The Gleiwitz Case
Actors: Hannjo Hasse, Herwart Grosse, Hilmar Thate, Georg Leopold, Wolfgang Kalweit
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2006     1hr 10min

Considered one of the most modern and experimental films in DEFA's history, the eccentric THE GLEIWITZ CASE (DER FALL GLEIWITZ) is the blunt, confrontational, minutely detailed fictional recreation of the infamous Gleiwitz...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Hannjo Hasse, Herwart Grosse, Hilmar Thate, Georg Leopold, Wolfgang Kalweit
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 04/18/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/1961
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1961
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 10min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: German
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Films an overlooked chapter of World War II history
Gerard D. Launay | Berkeley, California | 05/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Most of us don't know what the pretext was for Germany invading
Poland in 1939. This little known film fills in the blanks.
The Germans staged a fake raid on a border town, dressed up a concentration camp inmate as a Polish soldier, then killed him as evidence of a Poland invasion. (The Germans also faked their
"anger" in the Kristallnacht incident against the Jewish people in their territories).

A number of factors make this film interesting. First of is by a German director criticising his own people. Second, the film is a scathing indictment of Leni Riefenstahl who used revolutionary cinematic art to make the Nazis look powerful. Here the camerman uses the same style to make the Nazis look inhuman, evil, mechanistic. Many intriguing photographic and musicial touches are used in the filming, and I found the end product appropriately chilling and very effective. For those interested in a forgotten incident of Nazi history, this movie is a must-see."
Donald A. Brodzik | 02/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"German film, English subtitles. Style is truely avant-garde and a play on leni Riefenstahl"s style. Based on the Nazi fabrication of a Polish attack on a Gleiwitz radio station in Germany. Used as a pretext for Hitler's invasion of Poland. There was only so much provacation AH could take. Lies and fabrications of this type seem to be quite even in our day, nicht wahr? The German is very clear too, so a double treat for students of the language. A very sobering film. The result, over 40 million dead and Europe devastated. And what have we learned?"
A brilliant Riefenstahl parody
Kerry Walters | Lewisburg, PA USA | 07/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The historical inspiration for "The Gleiwitz Case" is the phony Polish raid on a German radio station staged by the Nazis to justify the invasion of Poland. I don't know how accurate to the actual events the film is, and to be honest I don't much care. Because the genuine value of "Gleiwitz" is its success in brilliantly satirizing the nonsensical Volk und Vaterland cinematic glorification of Nazism directed by Leni Riefenstahl.

Produced by East Germany's state-controlled DEFA, "Gleiwitz" is presented in a documentary-style format. The theme music is tinny, carnivalesque, almost cartoonish, letting the viewer know right away that a parody is going on. The images of goose-stepping, fencing, saluting, perfectly uniformed Nazis gives the impression of a huge, impersonally precise machine: the sort of thing that Riefenstahl valorized comes across here as both chilling and slightly comical.

The cinematography is really quite clever: a sense of frenetic build-up to war is expressed in a train scene in which Germans gobble food as the German army will soon gobble up Poland. A bar scene of men crooning a drinking song blends into the rhymic clanging of military transport railway cars. There's a wonderful scene in which rifles are held by soldiers in such a way as to make them look like erect phalluses--subtle, not overdone, but definitely noticeable to the quick eye. And the flashback scenes of the protagonist Alfred Naujocks' earlier years give us the life history of a murderer that, again, effectively combines the chilling with the comical.

"The Gleiwitz Case" is as effective an anti-war film as I've ever seen. Heartily recommended."
Poor Poland
Right Stuff | Boston, MA | 03/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"To compare the invasion of Poland to the invasion of Iraq is outrageous. Ask the Kurds about the "alleged weapons of mass destruction"! Maybe if the allies had the nerve for pre-emptive war against the Nazi's before 1939 maybe 40 million people would not have had to die. The Poles suffered horrifically at the hands of both the Nazis and then by the Soviets."