(aka "Tod im Fuhrerbunker" )

 

directed by Michael Kloft
Germany 2004

 

Hitler’s last days have received plenty of cinematic attention over the past few years. With the documentary “Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary” (2002) and the feature film “Der Untergang” (“Downfall” – 2004), a TV program like “Death in the Bunker” has a tough time carving out a niche for itself. While it is nowhere near as compelling as either of the first two films, “Death in the Bunker” justifies its existence simply by presenting us with authentic archival footage of Hitler’s final days hiding out in the Reich Chancellery as Soviet forces rolled ever closer to Berlin, and even some footage from the days after the former paper-hanger ate German steel.

The program mixes archival footage with talking head interviews, mostly from eye-witnesses from those fateful days, including the now famous Traudl Junge of “Hitler’s Secretary” fame. They don’t really have much new to tell, but the film’s real strength is in the images it has recovered from historical archives. Most of it is in black and white, but one stunning color sequence shows a smiling and quite pretty Eva Braun posing in front of a distant mountain. In one heart-breaking sequence, all the Goebbels’ girls pose for a picture, dressed as pretty as can be, and blissfully unaware of the fate in store for them. As many times as I’ve seen it, I still can’t help but feel a shiver up my spine every time I see a moving picture of Hitler actually smiling. Hey, Hitler painted roses too.

Koch Vision has released several WW2 archival documentaries in the past few months: Embedded’ 45: The Shooting War in Germany (also directed by Michael Kloft), They Filmed the War in Color: France is Free, and They Filmed the War in Color: The Pacific War. Of the four, “Death in the Bunker” is the least compelling, because it relies on so many talking heads, and covers ground more familiar to most viewers. But just for the sheer sake of actually documenting the events and preserving them for a general audience, the program and the DVD is worthwhile.

Though originally filmed for German television, the version on this DVD has been re-dubbed with English voice-over to appeal to the American markets.

 

Christopher Long

Theatrical Release: Spiegel TV (2004)

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DVD Review: Koch Vision - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Christopher Long for the Review!

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Distribution

Koch Vision

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 79 min.
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Dolby Digital
Subtitles English
Features Release Information:
Studio: Koch Vision

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:

DVD Release Date:
 

Chapters 12
 

 

 

Comments:

As you would expect, the image quality varies wildly in a program that combines archival footage from multiple sources with newly recorded interviews. The newer footage is pretty clean. Much of the archival footage shows signs of combing, indicating this is not a progressive transfer. But you can't expect perfection from this kind of effort, and much of the footage, now over 60 years old, looks surprisingly sharp.

 - Christopher Long

 

 

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Koch Vision

Region 1 - NTSC



 

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