The Hitler Collection DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 8.0
Video 6.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features   N/A
Total 7.5
Distributor: Siren
Running Time: 1200 Minutes
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: M15+

7.5


The Hitler Collection

Though Hitlerís Third Reich came to utter ruin almost seven decades ago, the rogueís gallery which comprised the upper echelons of the Nazi party continues to fascinate and repulse the popular imagination, and many of the names Ė Himmler, Goering, Goebbels, Mengele Ė have come to symbolise evil, cruelty and corruption, in short, all worst of human nature. 

Sirenís 8-disc, 20-hour Hitler Collection provides a detailed look at the men who formed the inner circle of the Nazi dictatorship.  In the 12-part Hitlerís Henchmen, which comprises half the set, each of Hitlerís chief co-conspirators is the subject of an hour-long episode which traces their early life, inextricable journey towards the fledgling Nazi party and their often brutal and astonishingly swift ascension through its ranks to positions of real power.  Hitler didnít shrink from surrounding himself with hoodlums, murderers and degenerates, though his inner sanctum also contained men of s relatively civilised nature such as the architect Speer, Naval officer Doenitz, who would succeed Hitler, albeit briefly, as head of Nazi Germany, and the would-be dandy Ribbentrop, whose machinations led to the German-Soviet non-aggression pact but who was as desperate for war as the master he so slavishly served. 

The rest of the series is taken up with Hitlerís Warriors, a six-part examination of the Wehrmachtís chief Generals and military commanders such as the famed Erwin Rommel or the doomed Paulus, whose entire Third Army would be encircled at Stalingrad, and Hitlerís Holocaust, a six-part, five-hour examination of the destruction of the Jews, gypsies, Jehovahís Witnesses and other Ďundesirableí elements that had no place in Hitlerís ĎThousand Year Reich.í 

The Hitler Collection is an excellent set, but itís far from comprehensive; somewhat glaringly there is no episode devoted to notorious SS chief Reinhardt Heydrich, SA leader Ernst Rohm, who was murdered in the so called Night of the Long Knives, nor, for that matter, Hitler himself.  There is plenty of repeated footage, such as what is possibly the only surviving footage of SS Einsatzgruppen (Mobile Killing Unit) officers executing Ukrainian civilians behind the lines of the Eastern Front being repeated some eight or nine times, and several of the characters examined, such as crooked judge Roland Freisler or the relatively bland leader of the Hitler Youth Baldur von Shirach, are hardly the most colourful figures of the Third Reich. 

Overall however itís a handsomely-designed and deeply informative set, and an excellent visual compendium of one of the most evil regimes in history. 

Audio & Video

Many of these men committed the most sinister acts imaginable (or ordered their followers to) and the producers of the series do revel in the darkness of the subject matter, adorning each episode with doom-laden electronic fanfares, dramatic freezing of stills, blood-red supers etc.  The two-channel audio is fairly rudimentary and thereís a slight hiss on some of the older interview footage, but the period audio from Hitler and his chiefs has been well-sourced and is mostly clear. 

Picture quality is variable, with portions of the series apparently having been transferred from VHS and some of the interviews shown originally conducted in the 1970s and 1980s, but once again the period footage has been cleverly chosen and there should be plenty of surprises here for even the most hardened of WWII buffs.  Lots of rare footage too, including the aforementioned shots of SS death squads and footage shot surreptitiously throughout conquered Europe by those opposed to the Nazi regime, many of whom risked their own lives to film the forced removal of Jewish families from their homes, cattle trains laden with humans bound for the killing factories of the East, and so on.






 
 



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