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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Speer & Hitler (Double Disc Set) [DVD]
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on 21 June 2011
This German made drama documentary with English subtitles kept me riveted from start to finish, over 4 hours of viewing including the epilogue bonus feature which is really a continuation of the previous 3 episodes. This film shows Speer from many angles and enables the viewer to get a closer insight into Speer, his motivations, his relationship with Hitler and the extent of his guilt. It is possible to see what was missed out of his biography "Inside the Third Reich" and come to your own conclusions as to whether he should have been hung at the Nuremberg Trials. Some fascinating interviews interspersed with the acting, which include recent interviews with his relatives. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of Germany's part in World War Two
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on 19 April 2014
An interesting and thought-provoking documentary which led me to the view that Hitler's architect who escaped the gallows at Nuremburg was more fully involved in Nazism that I had previously thought.
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on 4 February 2012
Fascinating German miniseries about Nazi architect Albert Speer and his strange relationship with Adolf Hitler. Speer is played by Sebastian Koch (who starred in The Lives of Others and The Black Book, and has also played Claus von Stauffenberg in a German TV movie) while Hitler is played by Tobias Moretti. Most of the material is taken from Speer's two autobiographies, "Inside the Third Reich" and the "Spandau diaries". The series includes some documentary parts, including news footage from the era and contemporary interviews with, among others, filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (just before her death), and Speer's children, Hilde, Arnold and Albert Jr. (the last, also an architect, and who until this film was reluctant to discuss his father publicly, is surprisingly dismissive about his father's abilities as an architect). Among the many supporting characters, one has to name Andre Hennicke (who played SS General Mohnke in Downfall) as Rudolf Hess. This compares very favorably with the American miniseries "Inside the Third Reich" made in 1982 and dealing with the same material (in that series, Speer was played by the Dutch actor Ruger Hauer while Hitler was played by Derek Jacobi). The series only flaw (unfortunately not a minor one) is Moretti's very weak performance as Hitler (this aside from the fact that he looks very little like the Fuhrer).
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on 26 April 2013
I found Gita Serrany's biography difficult to stomach. It read as if Ms Serrany was captured by the charm of Speer. This film/documentary does not make the same mistake. In allowing Speer to "speak" or more precisely his actions to be seen, the man is revealed. 270 minutes convinced me that if Goering was sentenced to hang at Nuremberg, then in justice-so should of Speer. But of course he did not. He survived a lengthy prison sentence and as this film shows, he came out to a rich and content life, where he re-invented himself and his war time actions through a prism of what he did not know. This close friend of Hitler who milked his labour force to death through the end years of the war knew enough to morally decide not to have such a "ministerial" role in Hitler's dictatorship. Goering was more honest. He knew he was a gangster amongst gangsters. This is a great and remarkable film and I particularly liked the interviews with his children. The gentle probing and teasing out of information. It is all the better for coming out of Germany. Enthralling watching. Highly recommended.
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on 21 June 2012
This film-series is something of a a surprise, it is more thorough than expected, and well-made on every level. In some ways it is more interesting, more serious, and less stagey than the famous film, "Downfall". It is more thoughtful and exploratory.

The career of Albert Speer as Hitler's friend, architect and armaments minister, is very effectively examined by means of dramatic reconstructions, well-researched archive film, and interviews with his children (and others, like Leni Riefenstahl). It turns out to be an involving picture of the way in which Speer was seduced by the power offered him by Hitler. The final part, on Speer's 20-year imprisonment, is equally interesting.

Sebastian Koch's performance as Speer is notable for its intelligence and subtlety, and he conveys very well Speer's secretive ambivalence, and his probably wilful blindness. It is always easy to find faults in 'dramatic reconstructions' of historical events, however in this film they are done surprisingly well and in the main they work.

The skill with which this film has been put together is impressive: the story seamlessly interweaves archive and modern material into a well thought-out, convincing whole. Recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 26 December 2012
Speer was appointed Armaments Minister in 1941 in spite of having no background in manufacturing at all. This arose due to a serendipitous set of events commencing in the early 1930s when Speer, an Architect by training, performed some work on Hitler's apartment. However it was only later when Speer made some changes to the designs on the Nuremburg Rally venue, that he caught Hitler's attention. However it was Hitler's megalomaniac construction projects which ensnared the ambitious Speer & not the Nazi ideology.

From there their friendship blossomed with Speer becoming a regular guest at Hitler's retreat in the Obersaltzberg, the Berghof.

What endears one about this account of the intertwined lives of Speer & Hitler, is not the photography per se or it being a sentimental account of Hitler's only true friend, but due to the method of the story telling. It weaves between the current predicament of Speer at the Nuremburg Trial & how Speer & Hitler meet & become firm friends. This conflation of the past & present [1945] together with wide ranging interviews with his three children dramatise the dilemma of Speer as the barbarity of the Nazi Regime becomes more apparent to him as the trial proceeds. Finally Speer distances himself from his unrepentant colleagues & is ostracized for his efforts.

This & the plausibility of his defence probably were responsible for the Court's "lenient" verdict.

Despite all suspicions to the contrary, Albert Speer until his death denied all culpability or complicity in the grotesque misdeeds of the Third Reich. This was in spite of being a confidant of Hitler almost until his suicide on 1st May 1945.

Maybe this is predicated on his stance at the Nuremburg Trails after WW2, where instead of adopting his co-accused mottos of "I was only following Hitler's Orders" or more implausibly, "I did not know" being the most (in)articulated response, Speer appeared to willingly & openly address the court's questions.

This set him apart from his colleagues but his did not mean that he was in truth unaware of the reality of the situation but it probably won him a reprieve from being hanged. Instead he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

On some of the charges, such as the one relating to the one of "waging war", Speer was clearly not guilty. Being appointed as Production Minister in 1941 after the death of Todt ensured that this charge was groundless.

However where Speer was undoubtedly guilty was in using millions of slave labourers in the various armaments factories especially the notorious Nordhausen underground V2 factory where thousands died due to atrocious working conditions, starvation & thirst!.

Speer deftly swatted these charges away by insisting that his subordinate Saeckel & not him who was complicit in these actions for which he paid the ultimate price, death by hanging.

Apart from his silver tongue, contrite manner & shifting responsibility, his loyal secretary also lied under oath about his actions.

This is a docu-drama in the true sense of the word. Re-enactments cover all crucial scenes where no extant footage survives. Contemporary footage always seems to portray a smiling, genial & amiable Speer. Secondly it must be noted that this is German production with English subtitles. Despite being slightly tedious it does make for a more accurate production especially when the roles of Americans are played by English speaking actors & the Russian judges by Russian actors instead of the implausible situation where everybody speaks English.

For a full account of Speer's life, read his memoir Inside the Third Reich which must also rate 5 out of 5. But read with a sense of skepticism.

Minor flaws in the character portrayals were noted. Speer's character had far too much hair to impersonate the wispy haired balding Speer. Hitler's character was most plausible in scenes towards the end of the war when the effects of Parkinson's disease were clearly visible. The most implausible was when Hitler was addressing a small bunch of Nazis supporters where the intonation lacked even a modicum of forcefulness.

Overall it is an excellent production giving one an insight into one of the only likeable characters in Hitler's entourage & his relationship with the master of evil himself, Hitler.
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on 9 February 2012
PLOT: based on the bio of Albert Speer Hitler's Architect and Minister of Weapon production in WW2~GERMAN with English Subtitles

told in flashbacks~SEBASTION KOCH looks like Speer~ this starts at Nuremberg where Speer and all the head Nazis are on TRIAL for crimes against humanity. Speer gains access to Hitler's inner circle through chance when he "draws up plans" for a Nuremberg Rally that brings him close to Hitler who soon has him drawing up plans for Berlin of of the "future"~ Soon Speer and his family are living near Berchessgarten where Hitler has his Berghof. We see Speer becomes Hitler's friend and confidante~ Speer is appointed Reich Minister of War Production in 1942 when Todt is killed~ * woven into this is modern day INTERVIEWS* of 3 of Speers children who are now over 60~ Hilde, Arnold and Albert Junior who are very candid about their believe Speer knew far more than he admitted too and childhood memories of family life~ as the NAZI TRIALS starts~ We see Speer has more education and is able to "defend" himself using the excuses "he attempted to kill Hitler" and he helped prevent some of the "scorched earth policy" from being implemented as ordered by Hitler. Speer IS VERY intelligent & manipulative~ While most of the Nazis are hung~ Speer is given 20 years~ next Speer is sent to Spandau Prison which is in the center of Berlin and is guarded by all the allies~ a Friendly Doctor at Spandau Prison offers Speer the access to smuggle letters to and from his family. We also get to see what happens to Fraul Speer and the Children~hiding in plain sight with refugees in the British Sector of Germany~ While time grinds along slowly for all the prisoners~ Speer is busy~ writing his biography while at the Prison~ Speer walks and gardens and keeps a *routine* while helps him keep his sanity. this "mini series" is 3 parts each 1 1/2 hour~ Episode 1 is the Trial and flashbacks to his meeting Hitler Part 2 is the War Part 3 is Spandau.
Sebastion Koch is at his very best shows the intelligent Speer and ages to look even more like Speer in Spandau~ well written and based on Speers own diary Inside the Third Reich~ excellent acting and script~ and we see life in side Spandau which few movies about Speer even touch~ FACINATING~ a must see
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on 22 February 2013
A fantastic double disc set that once started to watch could not stop, the way it is laid out was really good with the intereaction of his children and the mixing going back to Speer
A real eye opener and would recommend anyone that has an interest in this Period to put this in there collection I will re watch this again in a few months stunning ete opener to the Real Albert Speer and that smile that maybe says he knew what was going on but wisely chose to pretend he did not admit to the guilt without actually admitting to be guilty got him 20 Years instead of how the rest were dealt with at the Nuremberg War Trials.

5 star as the dvd could not be put down once started and I then reflected at the end on a man that was descibed as The Good Nazi!!!!
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on 18 July 2013
A really well done docu-drama, very smooth and put together. A very interesting film, with excellent acting and also very sad, showing how people get carried along by ideals and ignore what is actually happening right in front of them.
We know Hitler was just pure evil, but was Speer evil, or just idealistic and naive. Power may have got to him and his love of Hitler.
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on 15 February 2013
This was bought as a gift for our son,he said it was very good and he enjoyed watching them.thankyou would recommend
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