Friday, March 28, 2008

DVD Review: Mussolini

Over the last few days I have been watching a five hour long made for TV drama starring George C Scott about Mussolini. I have to say I found it quite gripping.

Based on the diaries of his son Vittorio, it portrayed the Fascist dictator in a rather benevolent light, concentrating on his personal life rather than his political extravagences, but it reawakened my interest in Mussolini (don't read anything into that!) and I am now going to read up about him. I know I have a couple of biographies stashed away somewhere. Perhaps the worst aspect about the drama was the actor who played Hitler - again portrayed in a rather too sympathetic light - almost comically so. Anyway, the DVD only costs around a fiver and you can buy it HERE.


Anonymous said...

What was the name of Mussolini's daughter?

Wasn't it "Verity" or something like that?

Ilja Nieuwland said...

For a more realistic insight into this period of Italian history, try Galeazzo Ciano's diaries. Ciano was Italy's foreign affairs minister under Mussolini, and his son-in-law. This didn't spare him the fate of being executed during the ill-fated and ill-conceived Salo Republic. The diaries are a gripping read, both for their self-reflection, characterisation of characters and utter immorality.

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly,this was shown on TV many years ago and provoked a storm of protest.

Scipio said...

Iain, did you ever see the German film about Hilter's last days in his bunker? Utterly gripping, mostly due to the vrilliant acting of the guy who played Hilter.

What I found most personally disturbing was that it portrayed Hilter as this bi-polar man who was able to switch from this benevolent and genial charactor, showing great concern for those around him, to the madman we all know he was.

That raised questions for me, in that (and I have to careful how I phrase this as I don't want people to get the wrong idea), if Hitler was capable of bhing a nice man, am I capable of being a Hitler?

Until I saw the film, I was able to somehow seperate myself from people like Hitler by saying 'they are evil' or 'I am not like them', creating in my mind some image of Hilter as being this person incapable of feeling or human emotion. The film showed that actually he did care deeply - albeit for a very few people. Therefore, Hitler was still human.

But, and this was my concern, in reality are we all not capable of being a Hitler and doing the evil things he did?

I remeber the conversations I had in Rwanda, and how neighbours who lived together as friends suddenly butchered each other!

AM I capable of that too?

I hope not.

Scipio said...

Also, I think it time for someone to publoish some writings on Tito - who was a fascinating man. 20 years after his death, he still dominates the politics of the Balkans, yet he is little written about.

Anonymous said...

Adrian Yalland:

I think the film you refer to is called "Downfall" and the Swiss actor who played Hitler is Bruno Ganz.

I saw it when it first came out in the cinema. What was interesting was the reaction from the audience at the end - a stunned silence.

Sir-C4' said...

Tony Blair is worse than Hitler and Mussolini combined.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps one day some visionary will make a 5 hour biopic about Alan Beith, MP for Berwick on Tweed.

Scipio said...

Anon@12.32 - that's the one! Thanks.

I thought it a gripping film. Did you not feel challenged by the portrayal of Hitler's 'human' side?

Somehow, seeing Hitler's humanity made his crimes even more unspeakably evil, and really made me think about whether I could be a hitler too!

Anonymous said...

Adrian - Hitler tapped into an "anti-politics" theme, blaming politicians for Germany's ills. Perhaps, if he'd had a blog, he might have used the "politics for people who don't do politics" line himself?

Just kidding. Hitler in real life would have been a thousand times more complex than a portrayal by an actor. Very very few people have the kind of compound personality defects and syndromes he had, so I think you can relax. It's a long way from occasionally being a bit testy to launching the world into World War and almost wiping out an entire ethnic group.

copydude said...

One of the best books I read about Mussolini was written by Laura Fermi. Published 1961 but still around on Amazon.

Good insights into his socialist roots and definite eccentricity.

The film about Hitler was excellent. What is covered is that he thought compassion was a terrible weakness and weakness itself a sin.

A lot of the madness was what Lord Butler might describe as 'group think'. Many atrocities were thought up by chiefs of staff who imaqined these would please him - rather as those around Blair kept inventing daft initiatives.

The insanity of Iraq was as much people like Jonathan Powell and Alistair Campbell - though we tend to heap all the madness on one person, as with Hitler.

Anonymous said...

People like Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin, were not stupid crazy or mad people, especially when they first came to power.

(Would not life be more easy to deal with, if truly dangerous people like Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were always obviously stupid, crazy or mad?)

They were in reality very charmingly persuasive, rational and highly intelligent representatives of an devoutly evil inhuman ideology.

Which is commonly known as SOCIALISM.

Socialism is a product of the RULING ESTABLISHMENT CLASS formulated in the 19th century, by an upper middle class high masonic EX Jewish, Jew hater, named Karl Marx. Coming of age in the most horrendously murderous, genocidal way, during the 20th century, and now spreading its divisive disease, into the 21st century around the world.

Socialism is collectivized brainwashing. A method by which the ruling class convince the ordinary people to sacrifice their lives and liberties, only for the good of said ruling class.

Put another way. Socialism is one great big terrible lie, from start to finish. Made even more nasty because it was long since firmly adopted by the very people it was supposed to oppose.

On the other hand.

Free and free thinking individuals don't make wars with anyone or anything, never mind other countries. Unless the individual is a psychotic maniac. Where by a secure mental institution would be the best place for them.

It is simply not in a normal persons interests to die of sacrifice themselves for anybody else. It never could be in their individual interests, or will ever be in their interests. Unless their lives and liberty were under direct threat.

They work successfully and loyally for their employer. They run small businesses, providing efficient competitive goods and services for their local community. Look after themselves and their family, as best as they can, while caring for others who CAN NOT care for themselves.

Usually doing all this while rebuilding their respective world after SOCIALISM has destroyed as much of it as it can.

These people are commonly known as conservatives. Although its best just to call yourself a sensible sane member of a free and liberal community of ordinary human beings.

Or the BBC will send the boys round, to give you yet another painless but very expensive 're-education.'

Atlas shrugged

Scipio said...

Splashitallover: Interesting post. My experience though has led me to conclude that even the most rational and benign of people are capable of the most irrational and evil acts. I think in particular of neighbours who lived in relative harmony with each other for many years, then on some pretext, underlying tensions surface leading to civil war and slaughter - and the most unspeakable cruelties inflicted on people who used to be friends.

I think of the Balkans and Rwanda in particular.

I am sure Hilter was a very complex person. During the war an American psychologist put together a paper looking at his psyche based on Freud, and accurately predicted his behaviour, likely actions, that he would rather see Germany destroyed than to negotiate - seeing defeat as him being betrayed by the German people, and they he would almost certainly take his own life.

This was based on Frued's theories, and on interviews with people who had escaped German and who knew him - including his childhood (Jewish) doctor who told of his brutal childhood at the hands of his vicious father, and how unusually close he was to his mother, and the possibility he was having an incestuous relationship with one of his cousins.

He was, according to the American psychologist, also likely to be disinterested in sex, or only to see sex as a way of humiliating others, or derive sexual pleasure out of humiliating others.

The report, when dusted of ny a historian recently, was amazingly accurate, and showed that Hilter suffered from a number of identifiable psychological disorders, probably stemming from the constant abuse and extreme violence he suffered at the ahands of his father.

Anonymous said...

Sir C4' said...
"Tony Blair is worse than Hitler and Mussolini combined."


Anonymous said...

"Tony Blair is worse than Hitler and Mussolini combined."

More eviller than Skeletor, even. ;-)