Triumph of the Will (Triumph des Willens) is a filmed record of the 1934 Nazi Party Convention, in Nuremberg. No, it is more than just a record: it is an exultation of Adolf Hitler, who from the moment his plane descends from Valhalla-like clouds is visually characterized as a God on Earth. The “Jewish question” is disposed of with a few fleeting closeups; filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl prefers to concentrate on cheering crowds, precision marching, military bands, and Hitler’s climactic speech, all orchestrated, choreographed and illuminated on a scale that makes Griffith and DeMille look like poverty-row directors. It has been alleged that the climactic rally, “spontaneous” Sieg-Heils and all, was pre-planned according to Riefenstahl’s specifications, the better to take full advantage of its cinematic potential. Allegedly, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels resented the presence and intrusion of a woman director, but finally had to admit that her images, achieved through the use of 30 cameras and 120 assistants, were worth a thousand speeches. Possibly the most powerful propaganda film ever made, Triumph of the Will is also, in retrospect, one of the most horrifying.
Caligula II: The Untold Story (1982) Joe D’Amato, David Brandon, Laura Gemser, Luciano Bartoli, Adult, Drama, History, Erotic
The deranged Roman emperor Gainus ‘Caligula’ (Little Boots) Caesar (12-41 A.D.) rules Rome with an iron fist and has anyone tortured and exectued for even the slightest insubordination. Mostly set during his last year of his reign, as Caligula loses support due to his brutal and crazed excess, a young Moor woman, named Miriam, becomes his lover while ploting to kill him to avenge the murder of a friend which Caligula was responsible for. But Miriam is torn between her personal vandeda against Caligula and her own personal feelings towards him despite his madness and debauched lifestyle of orgies and bloody torture murders.
Two Lieutenants, Chard of Engineers and Bromhead find that their 140 man contingent in Natal has been isolated by the destruction of the main British Army column and that 4,000 Zulu warriors will descend on them in hours. Each has a different military background in tactics and they are immediatly in conflict on how to prepare for the attack. Nearly a third of the men are in the infirmary, as the welsh company tries to somehow survive with no help in sight. Based on a true story.
The Beggar’s Opera (1953) Peter Brook, Laurence Olivier, Hugh Griffith, George Rose, Crime, History, Musical
Authentic rendering of John Gay’s 18th century musical, filmed in Technicolor, about Captain MacHeath, a highwayman, and his love for too many beautiful women. Betrayed by Jenny and Sukey, two of his bygone lovers, and temporarily freed by two others, MacHeath is arrested and condemned to death. While waiting to be hanged, the captain is entertained by a musical beggar, who has written an opera of which the highwayman is the hero.
Northwest Rangers (1942) Joseph M. Newman, James Craig, William Lundigan, Patricia Dane, Drama, History, Western
Oda az igazság / So Much for Justice! (2010) Miklós Jancsó, Daniel Olbrychski, Kornél Mundruczó, György Cserhalmi, History
Concerning the Mátyás era in Hungarian history, during the reign of Matthias Corvinus, the film focuses on three eras of the king’s life: the young Mátyás fights for the throne, the older Mátyás as king, and the fate of the royal crown and the royal heir after his death.
Sink the Bismarck! (1960) Lewis Gilbert, Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Carl Möhner, Action, Drama, History
Chronicles the breakout of the Bismarck during the early days of World War Two. Seen both from the point of view of the many naval vessels on both sides and from the central headquarters of the British where the search for the super battleship was controlled.
Das schreckliche Mädchen / The Nasty Girl (1990) Michael Verhoeven, Lena Stolze, Hans-Reinhard Müller, Monika Baumgartner, Comedy, Drama, History
Sonya is a German high school student who decides to write an essay about her town’s history during the Third Reich and its resistance to it. To her dismay, and more so the town’s, she uncovers instead definite collaboration during the period. As she digs deeper, she must struggle against the town’s vocal and violent opposition to her search for the truth.
La Marseillaise (1938) Jean Renoir, Lise Delamare, Louis Jouvet, Pierre Renoir, Drama, History, Music
A news-reel like movie about early part of the Frensh Revolution, shown from the eyes of individual people, citizens of Marseille, counts in German exile and, of course the king Louis XVI, showing their own small problems.
Helen of Troy (1956) Robert Wise, Stanley Baker, Rossana Podestà, Brigitte Bardot, Adventure, Drama, History
Prince Paris of Troy, shipwrecked on a mission to the king of Sparta, meets and falls for Queen Helen before he knows who she is. Rudely received by the royal Greeks, he must flee…but fate and their mutual passions lead him to take Helen along. This gives the Greeks just the excuse they need for much-desired war.