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The Goebbels Experiment
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From Goebbels' growing influence as an influential orator to his surprisingly affectionate family life, the meticulously edited footage serves as both point and counterpoint to Goebbels' diaries, revealing a paranoid intellectual capable of breathtaking, if not outright schizoid, shifts from one train of thought to another. A perceptive observer of culture (especially the art of motion pictures), he both loved Hitler and felt repeatedly betrayed by the Fuhrer's perceived offenses against him. Prone to chronic bouts of depression, Goebbels found purpose in his unprecedented orchestration of epic-scale propaganda, but his inner demons haunted him until the very end, when it became obvious that the Nazis had completely lost their power. The final images of Goebbels' partially burned body (along with those of his wife and six children) serve as a chilling reminder that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Having never found a satisfying balance between his personal and professional lives as a top-ranking Nazi, Goebbels' fate seems almost predetermined. As a masterful assembly of archival materials, The Goebbels Experiment is not to be missed. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
- All you hear or watch are either documentaries or Goebbels own words. Of course, the facts can be used out of context etc, but still it's as close to truth as you can get.
- Quality of materials. We usually used to see WWII videos in black and white and it makes you feel disconneted from that time. Here they found some rare color films. It makes big difference!
- Feel the time. You here the sounds of that time, watch scenes from that time, listen to Goebbels own words. Looks like the authors were trying carefully to preserve that experience. The are not trying to give their own opinions or inject anything modern. So it's a very unspoiled view into pre WWII and WWII Germany.
- Great history lesson on propaganda, democracy etc. Some people would be probably surprised to realize that government got it's power in a democratic way by winning a series of elections and it had support from masses. That shows you the limits of democracy.
Overall, one of the best documentary films about that time released in the recent years!
The documentary is structured in a rather unique way. It consists of Kenneth Branagh, the narrator, reading excerpts from Goebbels' diary while showing film footage from Goebbels' personal life as well as of the Nazis' rise to power. There is no outside commentary; the entire film is shown from Dr. Goebbels' own perspective. Because of this, the film doesn't provide a lot of background on the political events leading to the Nazis' usurpation of power and the onset of WWII. I think that a person could take away a lot from this movie even without knowing this historical background, but at least a basic knowledge of the Third Reich would definitely augment the experience.
I haven't actually read Goebbel's diaries, but I found the film entrancing. One of the more remarkable aspects of the film was the way in which it revealed Dr. Goebbels' internal contradictions. On the one hand, he was obviously a vile anti-Semite and a vulgar, unabashed proponent of German nationalism. On the other hand, at various times he reveals himself to be a highly cultured individual. His appreciation of cinema and the fine arts, however, is clearly due to his belief that these cultural media could be exploited to advance a particular political agenda, and this is obviously something that Dr. Goebbels' pursued rather successfully.
Without giving away the ending, I can say that the ending of the documentary contained some very disturbing images. I already knew before watching it what the fate of Dr.Read more ›
There is some fantastic black and white film footage of Nazi party rallies and "behind the scenes" events that I have never seen before. Also utilized are a number of nice photographs of Goebbels' and company throughout his life. While I don't think this documentary is for everybody-my wife rolled her eyes when I told her what I was watching-anybody interested in the Third Reich or history in general will no doubt enjoy this film immensely. It is definitely one of the best documentaries on a historical figure that I have seen and it certainly gave me much insight into the mind of one of the most notorious men of the twentieth century.
What's especially intriguing about the film is the ambiguity surrounding its title. Just what was the Goebbels experiment? It seems to me that two answers are possible. The first, and perhaps most obvious, is the "experiment" of creating a huge propaganda machine capable of manipulating public opinion. This, of course, is what Goebbels did as Minister of Propaganda. Although he initially resisted the assignment, resentfully believing that he was being side-lined, Goebbels was in pretty much complete control of German radio, propaganda, film, press, and theatre by 1934. He insisted that effective propaganda must be the right mixture of entertainment and information, and recognized the power of dramatic film in manipulating the public (the production of "Kolberg" towards the end of the war is a good example of such manipulation). As he said, "German cinema must conquer the world"--that is, cinema was an effective weapon if properly wielded.
So in one sense, Goebbels' experiment was testing the limits of public credulity, and it can scarcely be denied that his successful tactics changed the relationship between governments and media. But at another level, the Goebbels experiment refers to Goebbel's self-creation. Perhaps his greatest propaganda coup was himself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Shows how a man may be deluded and still put his effort into an epic FAIL. Horror and sadness.Published 13 months ago by AlchemystAZ
Interesting biographical treatment. Instead of pure narrative, the film quotes Goebbels' diary and letters coupled with film footage some of which I hadn't seen before. Read morePublished on November 2, 2013 by Gregory V.
This is an exceptional documentary in that it is clearly presented with generous use of movie footage, including much which has not been seen before in similar productions.Published on July 20, 2013 by A. J. D. Gillies
Imagine seeing the world through the eyes of one of the principle shapers of the 20th Century and its greatest horror. Read morePublished on May 16, 2013 by V. R. Padgett
This is how it starts not unlike many countries as they have a stranglehold on the populace. can happen again that is the scary partPublished on April 9, 2013 by George Petruncio
I still don't understand what the Goebbels Experiment was. I saw a lot of the speeches of the Nazi propaganda chief.Published on February 25, 2013 by Zarathustra
Maybe a Nazi in his eighties, pining for the good old days of the "Thousand Year" Reich might find this meaningful. Read morePublished on August 2, 2012 by Literato
This film is absolutely chilling yet completely enlightening!
Meet Joseph Goebbels, the master mind behind the vaunted Nazi propaganda machine. Read more
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