Marvin J. Chomsky
Running Time: 250'
Main Cast :
Rutger Hauer - Albert Speer
John Gielgud - Albert Speer Sr.
Ian Holm - Dr. Joseph Gobbels
Blythe Danner - Margarete Speer
Derek Jacobi - Adolf Hitler
Natasha Knight - Hilde Speer
George Murcell - Herman Goering
Trevor Howard - Prof. Heinrich Tessenow
Renée Soutendijk - Eva Braun
Maurice Roëves - Rudolf Hess
Maria Schell - Mrs Speer
Robert Vaughn - Field Marshal Milch
E. Jack Neuman from the monograph by Albert Speer
Awards and Nominations:
1982 - 1 Emmy Award for Oustanding Achievement in Film Sound Editing
1983 - 1 Directors Guild of America Award as Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Specials
In a prison cell awaiting sentence for war crimes, Albert Speer reflects over the years that led to his involvement with Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
A cultured, educated man raised by civilized loving parents, young Albert grows up in an atmosphere of moneyed gentility -- despite the poverty, rampant inflation and nation-wide unemployment of post World War I Germany. He follows his father, Albert Speer, Sr., into architecture and, after marrying his college sweetheart, Margarete, becomes and assistant to his beloved mentor, professor of architecture Heinrich Tessenow.
As Speer tries futilely to obtain commissions designing buildings, Adolf Hitler campaigns for President in the 1930 elections. Politically naive, Speer attends a rally and is captivated by Hitler's magnetism. Swept into the National Socialist Party by his fascination with Hitler, Speer works as a campaign courier for Hanke, an energetic party member. Speer's father warns him of the dangers of his associations with the Nazi Party, but Speer argues he is an architect, nota politician. Blinded by ambition, he eagerly accepts his first commission to renovate the party's district headquarters.
Later, when Hitler loses the election but is appointed Chancellor of Germany, Speer receives more challenging assignments, winning Hitler's favor and confidence with his architectural brilliance. But the inner circle surrounding Hitler, men such as Dr. Goebbels, jealously resent Speer's friendship with the Fuehrer, treating Speer with contempt as they are forced to accept him into their exalted ranks.
All during these times -- when Jews are being persecuted; when books disagreeing with party ideology are being burned; when the tyranny of suppression, censorship and propaganda is spreading -- Speer continues designing for the Third Reich. Margarete despises her husband's involvement with the Nazis, but Speer regards himself an artist, not a Nazi, choosing to see what he wants to see -- until Professor Tessenow is arrested for subversive activities. Trading on the influence of his relationship with Hitler, Speer assumes authority he does not possess, and obtain Tessenow's release.
Eventually, Hitler becomes President. As was approaches, he appoints Speer his personal architect. Beguilded by the promise of artistic immortality, Speer commits himself to Hitler's grand plan -- building monuments that will last a thousand years.
After a candid discussion with a U.S. Army Officer in his prison cell, Speer continues his wait for sentencing, reliving the events of his wartime actions.
As war commences, Speer patriotically offers his services to the Army, but Hitler furiously refuses the offer and commands his architect to concentrate on redesigning the city of Berlin. In the early months of victory, Speer works obsessively, constructing the Fuehrer's monuments. But, as the tide of war turns against Gemany and Berlin is reduced to bombed-out rubble, Hitler promotes Speer to Minister of Armaments and War Production.
Walking a tightrope of intrigue and conspiracy among Hitler's other war ministers, Speer mans armament factories with slave labor from conquered nations, inextricably linking himself to Hitler's crimes.
Finally, disillusioned, Speer recognizes Hitler as a madman, and that Germany is losing the war. Harboring treasonous thoughts, he decides to resign but Field Marshal Milch, sharing his concerns over Hitler's inability to admit defeat, prevails upon Speer to remain in power, doing whatever is necessary to ensure Germany's ultimate survival after the war.
When allied invasion threatens, Hitler orders his commanders to scorch Germany of everything that could sustain the invaders -- an order that would also destroy the country's ultimate survival. Speer risks his life contermanding the order. After sending Margarete and his children to safety, he confesses his deception, but Hitler is too crazed planning his suicide to understand Speer's actions.
Tried and convicted by the Nuremberg Tribunal, Albert Speer is called for sentencing, receiving 20 years imprisonement at Spandau for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Speer was released after serving his full sentence in 1966, and died Deptember 1, 1981.
The film is based on Albert Speer’s own monograph. Speer was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in Spandau prison, where he wrote his memoirs. He was released in 1966 and died September 1st, 1981.
The “New York Times” wrote “Crammed with impressive scenes and marvelous performances. As Speer, Rutger Hauer performs to coldly handsome perfection”.
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