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Selling Hitler: The Complete Series [DVD]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2014
This is a funny real world story, that most people would have believed impossible together with its characters, if it had been a fiction movie. It is important to remember, that most of the events in the series stick fairly closely to what happened, as improbably as they seem.

It describes how a naive journalist convinces the upper management of the magazine where he is working, that he can purchase Hitler's diaries, and how they hand him a briefcase of cash, and it describes a jovial forgerer of nazi memorabilia, who suddenly realizes he quite literally has a goldmine in his hands.

Around these two is a group of supporting characters including the daughter of Hermann Göring, a Texas millionaire, Rupert Murdoch and Hugh Trevor-Rooper.

The creators have quite naturally wanted to include as many of the crazy actual episodes and characters in the series as possible. However, the consequence is that many of characters are not well introduced, each of them have a background that makes their role and actions much more interesting. For that reason, it is worthwhile reading the book before seeing the series, or at least to keep the book on the side as a reference.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This short 5 episode series tells of the highly intriguing affair of 'the Hitler diaries'. Bought by a credulous and over zealous German reporter with a Nazi fixation, and sold to Stern (and beyond), they were endorsed by handwriting analysts and even some historians, but forensics proved them to be fakes.

It's a strange thing, in a way, knowing the outcome before you see the story unfold. But the drama is in the desire to believe, which grows exponentially the more money and faith is invested. The acting is good, with a strong cast filled with both the well and the lesser known of British acting at the time, headed up by Jonathan Pryce, who's excellent as Gerd Heidemann, the Stern reporter nicknamed 'the bloodhound', whose nose for a good story, whilst not quite failing him altogether, certainly leads him astray.

Some pretty big guns, like Tom Baker & Richard Wilson are great as other journalists, some supportive some sceptical. Alan Bennett is very enjoyable as historian Hugh Trevor Roper, and Roger Lloyd-Pack makes a credible David Irving, whilst Alison Doody is suitably siren-like and enchanting as the rather air-headed air-stewardess wife of Heidemann. Barry 'Dame Edna' Humphries is convincing as hard nosed mogul Rupert Murdoch, and we even get to see a very young Peter Capaldi.

Alexei Sayle plays Konrad 'Connie' Kujau, a former petty criminal turned dealer in Nazi-memorabilia. Discovering he could turn his artistic skills into large sums of cash by forging pretty much anything his shifty but eager clients wanted, this ultimately leads him to fake a growing collection of 'Hitler diaries', which he feeds to Heidemann. Sayle is an intriguing choice for this role, which he plays pretty close to the knuckle in terms of comedy (almost lapsing into farce), given the combo of his personal left-radical leanings and Jewish ancestry.

Selling Hitler aired in '91, but looks and feels very '80s (exhibit A: Peter Capaldi's hair!). On the whole this is fine, and quite interesting in itself. But there's one moment where the full horror of the worst of the '80s asserts itself, when Heidemann and his wife go on a spree with his ill-gotten gains, set to an appallingly awful slice of electro-pop. It was difficult to watch that brief episode! Fortunately it was a one-off.

Much of the filming appears to have been done on location in Germany, which helps make it look authentic, and there are mocked up bits of newsreel footage (spliced with genuine stuff) that relate to the backstory of the plot. There are also some bizarre pseudo-Wagnerian moments, complete with near surreal '80s style 'video montage' effects. The titles also betray a slightly comic edge.

All in all, this is an odd package. Mostly played quite straight, it nonetheless has occasional undertones of comedy. This, and the surreal Wagnerian stuff, conspires to make it feel somewhat uneven. But it tells a very interesting story, and even has a strange period charm. Worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2014
Quietly funny miniseries, you have to see this if only for Barry Humphries performance as Rupert Murdock.
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on 4 July 2014
Read the book. And then enjoyed the film enormously. I recommend both very highly.
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on 10 July 2014
Superb, a real classic , can highly recommend .
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on 2 July 2015
Arrived quickly. Great item. Thanks.
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0 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2014
Don't be fooled by the love film advert attached to this page - they don't have rights to this and therefore you can't stream or rent it. Very misleading advert placement. Can't comment on the DVD, but the book is excellent
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