Judgment at Nuremberg

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Lance
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Judgment at Nuremberg

Post by Lance » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:35 am

Judgment at Nuremberg was showing on TCM tonight (April 10, 2010). I have the DVD, but anytime it is showing, I get involved. I was only able to see the last third of it. The film is a fictional account of the post-war Nuremberg trials, it still poses some questions. Nearly all Germans and some Americans were apparently not in agreement of the judge's pronouncement at the conclusion of the trials. All four defendents WERE found guilty and sent to jail, but as the film stated at the conclusion, NONE fulfilled their complete life sentences being incarcerated.

If anyone has watched this film especially with regard to Dr. Ernst Janning's case (played by Burt Lancaster), do viewers of this film believe that Janning got what he had coming to him? In other words, should Janning should have received a lighter sentence. Janning, himself, believed that he got what was coming to him.

And on another note, Robert Osborne pointed out at the conclusion of the film that Laurence Olivier was supposed to play the part of Dr. Ernst Janning. Spencer Tracy was upset by the fact that Olivier could not do the part and almost canceled out of the film himself. What is the feeling about WHICH actor would have been better suited to the role of Dr. Ernst Janning, Lancaster or Olivier? Just curious about your thoughts on this.

On yet another note, I saw that Werner Klemperer played the part of Emil Hahn. What a nasty character Hahn is in this film! In some ways, I am surprised Klemperer (the great conductor's son) would play the part of a Nazi inasmuch as (I think) he was Jewish and he would have actually been involved in wartime events. It seems as though it would be near impossible to play this part.

Lastly, given all the celebrated actors in this cast, do you feel their presence, such as Marlene Dietrich or Judy Garland detracted from the film in any way. I also felt Maximilian Schell, as defense attorney Hans Rolfe, did a stellar job in his role.
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jbuck919
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Re: Judgment at Nuremberg

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:22 am

Lance wrote:Judgment at Nuremberg was showing on TCM tonight (April 10, 2010). I have the DVD, but anytime it is showing, I get involved. I was only able to see the last third of it. The film is a fictional account of the post-war Nuremberg trials, it still poses some questions. Nearly all Germans and some Americans were apparently not in agreement of the judge's pronouncement at the conclusion of the trials. All four defendents WERE found guilty and sent to jail, but as the film stated at the conclusion, NONE fulfilled their complete life sentences being incarcerated.

If anyone has watched this film especially with regard to Dr. Ernst Janning's case (played by Burt Lancaster), do viewers of this film believe that Janning got what he had coming to him? In other words, should Janning should have received a lighter sentence. Janning, himself, believed that he got what was coming to him.

And on another note, Robert Osborne pointed out at the conclusion of the film that Laurence Olivier was supposed to play the part of Dr. Ernst Janning. Spencer Tracy was upset by the fact that Olivier could not do the part and almost canceled out of the film himself. What is the feeling about WHICH actor would have been better suited to the role of Dr. Ernst Janning, Lancaster or Olivier? Just curious about your thoughts on this.

On yet another note, I saw that Werner Klemperer played the part of Emil Hahn. What a nasty character Hahn is in this film! In some ways, I am surprised Klemperer (the great conductor's son) would play the part of a Nazi inasmuch as (I think) he was Jewish and he would have actually been involved in wartime events. It seems as though it would be near impossible to play this part.

Lastly, given all the celebrated actors in this cast, do you feel their presence, such as Marlene Dietrich or Judy Garland detracted from the film in any way. I also felt Maximilian Schell, as defense attorney Hans Rolfe, did a stellar job in his role.
Klemperer also played Adolf Eichmann. Later, when he was cast for Colonel Klink, he made it clear that he would only take the part if Klink was always portrayed as a bumbler who never did anything right.

I've seen the movie many times. Olivier would have found a way to portray Janning that would have given a dimension to the movie, but Lancaster's performance is not bad. I think Judy Garland way over-acted but also not so as to spoil that part of the story. And I think Dietrich was perfect. I wish there had been fifty films in which she could have played such a role.

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Re: Judgment at Nuremberg

Post by BWV 1080 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:39 am

Burt Lancaster's speech is classic:
My counsel would have you believe we were not aware of the concentration camps. Not aware. Where were we? Where were we when Hitler began shrieking his hate in Reichstag? Where were we when our neighbors were being dragged out in the middle of the night to Dachau?! Where were we when every village in Germany has a railroad terminal where cattle cars were filled with children being carried out to their extermination! Where were we when they cried out in the night to us. Were we deaf, dumb, blind?....My counsel says we were not aware of the extermination of the millions. He would give you the excuse: We were only aware of the extermination of the hundreds. Does that make us any the less guilty? Maybe we didn't know the details. But if we didn't know, it was because we didn't want to know... I am going to tell them the truth. I am going to tell them the truth if the whole world conspires against it. I am going to tell them the truth about their Ministry of Justice. Werner Lammpe, an old man who cries into his Bible now, an old man who profited by the property expropriation of every man he sent to a concentration camp. Friedrich Hofstetter, the "good German" who knew how to take orders, who sent men before him to be sterilized like so many digits. Emil Hahn, the decayed, corrupt bigot, obsessed by the evil within himself. And Ernst Janning, worse than any of them because he knew what they were, and he went along with them. Ernst Janning: Who made his life excrement, because he walked with them!"
but Spencer Tracy's sentence was just
The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common: Any person who sways another to commit murder, any person who furnishes the lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime, any person who is an accessory to the crime -- is guilty. Heir Rolfe further asserts that the defendant Janning was an extraordinary jurist and acted in what he thought was the best interest of this country. There is truth in this also. Janning, to be sure, is a tragic figure. We believe he loathed the evil he did. But compassion for the present torture of his soul must not beget forgetfulness of the torture and the death of millions by the Government of which he was a part. Janning's record and his fate illuminate the most shattering truth that has emerged from this trial: If he and all of the other defendants had been degraded perverts, if all of the leaders of the Third Reich had been sadistic monsters and maniacs, then these events would have no more moral significance than an earthquake, or any other natural catastrophe. But this trial has shown that under a national crisis, ordinary -- even able and extraordinary -- men can delude themselves into the commission of crimes so vast and heinous that they beggar the imagination. No one who has sat through the trial can ever forget them: men sterilized because of political belief; a mockery made of friendship and faith; the murder of children. How easily it can happen. There are those in our own country too who today speak of the "protection of country" -- of 'survival'. A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient -- to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! Before the people of the world, let it now be noted that here, in our decision, this is what we stand for: justice, truth, and the value of a single human being"

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Re: Judgment at Nuremberg

Post by Trilisser » Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:38 pm

Hmm, I´d like to see a movie in which one would ask the Americans where were their forefathers when the Indians were being genocided to exticntion, what did they do to prevent it. But perhaps some victims are just by default more equal than others. That is how some groups of people have behaved. Some victims remain unremembered, some victims make millions out of their victimization. Some of them have even created a multi-billion industry out of the suffering of their own flesh and blood. Shameful people indeed.

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