What was it all about?
A historical drama documenting the destructive relationship between Adolf Hitler and his niece Geli.
What to say if you liked it
An insightful chronicle of how Adolf Hitler rose to power, expertly illustrated through his possessive obsession with his niece.
What to say of you didn’t like it
A craven soap opera that reduced one of the most relentlessly evil and complex icons of the 20th century to Dirty Den with a clipped moustache and a penchant for Strauss surrounded by a menagerie of babbling ciphers.
What was good about it?
• Ken Stott was as customarily brilliant as ever, right down to the acute physical mannerisms of Adolf Hitler – such as straightening his tunic before a speech – and exhibited both his monstrous nature, which drove Geli to suicide, and the beguiling charisma that enabled him to seize power.
• Elaine Cassidy as the delicate Geli, whose obstinate vivacity was eventually crushed out of her by her uncle’s iron fist.
• Christine Tremarco as the duplicitous Eva Braun, who perfectly demonstrated the effect of Hitler’s magnetism when she felt compelled to disclose that Geli had a lover, partly to remove a love rival and partly because she wanted to please him.
• The subtle way in which Hitler’s relationship with Geli mirrored his relationship with Germany. As they became closer, he gradually removed her freedom and when she took a Jewish lover, Hitler had him murdered.
• Danny Webb as the calculating Joseph Goebbels, whose fawning over Hitler – all his children had names beginning with “H” – made Peter Mandelson’s toadying around Tony Blair look positively hostile.
• The way in which Hitler self-justified the murder of Geli’s Jewish lover through his hatred of the Hebrew faith rather than the true reason – that he was his niece’s lover.
What was bad about it?
• The metaphor of Hitler and Geli’s relationship for Hitler’s wider role in German society seemed far too convenient – for instance she became pregnant by her Jewish lover – that it caused the factual credibility of many of the other events to become questionable. Did Geli really shoot herself, or was this a device to relate to Hitler’s suicide later on? Did Eva and Hitler really get married moments before they committed suicide?
• The mostly pointless scenes of Hitler, Eva and his henchmen in the bunker as Berlin was overrun by Soviet tanks that occurred over a decade after Geli’s suicide. This seemed only to be included as to conclude the story after Geli’s death would have meant the villain Hitler appeared to be triumphant as he continued on his imminent course to become chancellor of Germany, breaking a golden rule of drama in the
process. In showing, albeit from behind closed doors, his suicide it meant that the villain was vanquished and the tale had a “happy” ending of sorts.
• By alluding that it was the imminent invasion of Berlin by Soviet forces that coerced Hitler’s suicide, the script created a perverse metaphysical twist that cast Joseph Stalin as the heroic instrument of vengeance. That is simply wrong in anybody’s book.