Judgment at Nuremberg VHS
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Director Stanley Kramer's socially conscious 1961 film tackles the subject of the war crime trials arising out of World War II in an earnest and straightforward fashion, exploring the consciousness of two nations as they struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of the Holocaust. Spencer Tracy plays the American judge selected to head the tribunal that will try the suspected war criminals. As he sets about his task, he must confront the raw emotion felt by the German people, and his own notions of good and evil, right and wrong. Regarded as a classic, this stark rendering of one of the most pivotal events in the 20th century features a stellar cast including Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Marlene Dietrich, a young William Shatner, and Maximillian Schell, who won an Oscar for his role as counsel for the defense for those charged with crimes against humanity. Judgment at Nuremberg is important viewing not only for the history of film, but for the history of modern times. --Robert Lane
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WWII is over, but Allied Justice over the Nazi atrocities must still move forward. It's 1948 Nuremberg and all the Nazi big-shots responsible for the war are dead, but now the courts must deal with German judges who went along with Nazi law that sent millions to the death camps. In this trial there are 4 previous German judges, one is played by Werner Klemperer of Hogan's Heroes fame, and they are brilliantly defended by Schell's character (one of the best court performances I've seen). He really earned his Oscar and recognition. Spencer Tracy is the presiding judge who is very diplomatic.
Judy Garland and Montgomery Clift have small, important roles and are superb as witnesses. Their performances add to the importance of how these trials needed to move forward, despite many who believed we should drop them in light of the Soviet Union's threat and how we needed the support of the German people, who some believed would not give us that support if we continued prosecuting their leaders.
The film is historically correct. The acting is unmatched. You will not be disappointed if you enjoy film classics. I highly recommend this film.
The acting is superb across the board. Maximillian Schell deserved his best actor award as the German defense attorney given an impossible task. Spencer Tracy as one of the US tribunal's judges and particularly Burt Lancaster as a once highly respected German judge who is on trial, both did outstanding jobs. This is probably one of Richard Widmark's best dramatic performances as the lead prosecutor. Marlene Dietrich, playing the widow of an executed German general, is also effective as Spencer Tracy's "love interest." Montgomery Clift and Judy Garland in small parts as victims called as witnesses are each emotionally shattering and almost steal the movie.
The movie is very long at 3 hours, but does not drag despite the absence of any "action" scenes. It is more enlightening than "entertaining" but is well worth seeing because of the importance of the subject matter and the outstanding performances.
History should not repeat itself!!! The Holocaust should never happen again. Long live Germany!!!
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