on November 16, 2009
This movie is a timeless masterpeace, and one of germany's top 10 rated films.
It will draw the viewer with surprising frankness , and bold actions of 2 young men
of an unlikely friendship, coming of age in the 1940's germany.
Drafted from Highschool to the german Military, both of them going through a character
Transition: Werner, a more sensible person, turns more and more into a sceptic by witnessing how his ideals getting destroyed by the application of a ruthless fascist system where he has to be part of it. Gilbert, also intelligent, a man of action and a Go Getter develops a passion for everything Military, that eventually will challenge his friendship to Werner.
The viewer will experience both of them as likable characters at first, and will go with them through a transition .Eventually feel the painfull decision process
they are forced to undergo. The gap between them widen and resolves a final movie climax.
Being a complex psychological Drama, the film does not lack action or battlescenes,
which were masterfully staged and ahead of their times.
Using newly invented filmographic artwork, a realistic ambiance leaves the viewer
in awe, even today with it's special effects and CGI technologies.
Many elderly germans who I had the pleasure sharing this movie with, attested it as being an authentic capture of the period. Made in 1965, the memory of the 40's where fresh and painful, the production used people with first hand experiences, to left no detail
missing. For most movie directors using flashbacks of a flashback are usually a No No
to use in blockbuster films. Surprisingly it works very well in this film.
It does, because it helps the viewer to understand their character transitions
from High School to the dramatic combat scenes.
Both of them are not the typical blind Nazi followers, nor fanatics, nevertheless prisoners of their times. Sometimes even swimming against the popular tide of fascism, by beating up their schools Hitler Youth leader, for being a cruel prick.
If they would have been born 20 years later, they would have blended right into our social fabric, as perhaps intellectuals (Werner) or aggressive businessman
Some viewers criticized this film for not using authentic WW2 rifles,
pointing towards the AK-47, allegdly used in this film by german soldiers.
When in fact they where "Sturmgewehr 44s", with whom not many people are familiar with.
This Gun was issued by few german units in 1945, and described as one of Hitlers so called Wonder weapons to change the outcome of the war.
The Actors and the Acting
As a german raised Canadian, I love those Actors, because I grew up seeing them on german TV for half of my lifetime, and recently again, because the internet and online shopping makes it possible to reunite with them. Most of them can still be seen on new german TV productions today. For me, they where simply the best.
Does a wage of x-million $ per film, make a Hollywood actor better, than an actor from another country who does quality work with a moderate wage ?
I guess only american movie fans can answer that.
For me, they just created one of my most favorite films.
My Dad , a veteran of age 84 and I, are in accord on this opinion, as for my part I have listened a lot but not enough of my past 55 years to him, specially interested in the wartime. At first very reluctant to tell me much, my insistence paid of over the years.
He grew up like a normal child from a middle class farming family, enjoying the seasons,
Fishing, hunting and swimming in the ancient Hessel river. Joined the Hitler Youth,
because almost every young boy did. That meant priveliges like participating in motor sport and glider plane classes. Our farming community lived in a quite and tranquil place of germany, with not much going on. There was plenty of food on the farm, many family gatherings and celebrations, it seemed like time would not touch this little peaceful and enchanting world. That idyll all ended in the second year of the war, just like it did in the movie. If my Dad says the movie got it accurately, than I do believe him.
on November 16, 2009
Created in 1964 East Germany, The Adventures of Werner Holt is a classic movie on DVD about the senselessness of war. Two 17-year-old best friends, Werner Holt and Gilbert, are pulled out of school and drafted into Hitler's army. Gilbert becomes a fanatically loyal soldier, while Werner, fighting on the front lines, is disgusted by the cruelty of war and eventually enacts his revenge. As powerful today as it was over forty years ago, The Adventures of Werner Holt remains one of the most important German films ever created. Highly recommended. 164 minutes, black-and-white, German with English subtitles.
A big and bold personal epic, I was not familiar with "The Adventures of Werner Holt" prior to viewing the film. It is an ambitious character piece that really stands as an excellent anti-war classic of disillusionment. At almost three hours, it is a sometimes harrowing story of a boy and his best friend being conscripted into the army at seventeen. Told in flashback as the war comes to an end with the Reich's last stand against the advancing Russians looking more and more futile, the film shows just how our heroes got into such a predicament. From innocence, to youthful patriotism, to painful realizations--at what point does loyalty give way to weightier moral decisions? Or does it ever?
Headlined by a winning, and surprisingly multifaceted, Klaus-Peter Thiele--this film really tells a fully rounded story and is one of the most complex and mature character pieces that you're likely to find from the era. In addition to its incredible story, the film is also masterful in its technique with great camera work and effects. Lots of films aspire to be epic, this one really is. KGHarris, 10/11.
on June 28, 2013
Werner Holt is an engaging sort of lad, however, his bud Gilbert is a bit of a Neanderthal, and not very likable. There is a bit of a question on the small arms, and Flak artillery. When the boys are called up as Hitlerjugend Flakhilfer, the guns they are serving are Russian 85mm AA, not the Flak 1936 88mm. And during a battle in an East German village, some of the Russians are carrying AK's which did not come out until the post-war. Werner and Gilbert have MP44/StG44's which are correct, but without any provision for spare mags. One would think a junior NCO like Gilbert would not be commanding anything more than a platoon, but the film appears to have him running a battalion. It is also odd there are no MG42's, just 34's. I like the film though, and was gratified Werner survived, while Gilbert received his just reward for being an overbearing ass.