Sunday, 16 June 2013

Uncle Adolf (2 Stars)

This film makes me sad. It's an interesting subject, one that deserves to be filmed, but it's been made so badly. It shows the relationship between Adolf Hitler and his niece, Geli Raubal, from 1925 to 1931. This relationship was also shown in the film "Hitler: The Rise of Evil", but only as part of the larger story of Hitler's rise to power.

Watching the two films back to back is like night and day. Robert Carlyle brought Hitler to life, giving modern viewers clues to his phenomenal success. Ken Stott, who plays Hitler in "Uncle Adolf", is more of a caricature of the man himself. He acts like a buffoon, making it difficult to see how anyone could take him seriously. I have grave doubts about the historical accuracy of some parts. It concentrates on Eva Braun's jealousy of Geli, which is a pure supposition, not based on any historical reports I know of. The film shows that Geli was pregnant by a Jewish musician. This was a common story at the time, but there's no proof that it was more than anti-Hitler propaganda. The only relationship that Geli had which we can know with any certainty was her affair with Hitler's chauffeur.

In fact, it's very difficult to sift through the post-war propaganda to be certain what really happened. It's true that Hitler had some sort of a relationship with his niece. Was it sexual? Maybe, maybe not. He drew naked pictures of her, of which some still survive. She shared an apartment with him from the age of 17 to 23. Let's make it clear that this relationship, even if it had been sexual, was not illegal. No laws in Germany forbid marriage or sexual relations between an uncle and his niece. The age of sexual consent in Germany is 16, so she wasn't too young for him. (During this time he was 36 to 42). However, the thought of an uncle "touching" his niece had a very bad taste with the general public, just as it does today.

Nowadays people associate Hitler with Eva Braun, his lover who he married shortly before his death. However, he is recorded as saying that Geli is the only woman he ever loved. He also had a string of relationships, some with celebrities such as the actress Renate Müller. One significant fact is that four of Hitler's lovers, including Renate, committed suicide. Geli died by shooting herself. Eva Braun attempted suicide. This would suggest that Geli was one in a string of his lovers. Why did they kill themselves? None of the women left suicide notes, or if they did the notes were destroyed. One recurring theme is that Hitler's lovers spoke of him having "perverse masochistic tendencies". Geli told a friend that her uncle made her piss on him. In isolation this might be dismissed as propaganda, but Hitler's other lovers tell similar stories.

This is a film that needs to be remade. While it's impossible to know the complete truth about what happened, the new film should stick to things which are highly probable.

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