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The Architecture of Doom (1989)

Cast: Bruno Ganz, Bruno Ganz
Director: Peter Cohen, Peter Cohen
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Rating: Not Rated
Studio: First Run Features
Genre: Documentary, Foreign, Biographies, Art, Scandinavia
Running Time: 119 min.
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Based on the interesting theory that the Third Reich was merely an expression of its architects' desire to create, Peter Cohen has written, directed, produced and edited this compilation documentary. Many of Hitler's top guns were not only well educated but had creative bents - Hitler was a frustrated watercolorist, Goebbels had an unpublished novel and play to his credit and von Sitach was a poet. It is the contention in this "documentary" that the creative urges of these men are what drove them to try to reshape their entire environment into their own unique vision of a perfect society - helping to design everything from the clothing worn to the houses built, and molding even the surviving humans into their own monocular vision of mankind by labeling anything different than the Aryan mold as diseased and degenerate. A unique postulate as to the origins of the Nazi movement, Cohen fails to account for the fact that there were numerous antecedents when Hitler was young who were equally racist and bigoted and their politics can be easily seen in Hitler's own molding and shaping into the monster he became. However, the notion that for Hitler and his group aesthetic considerations often outweighed the mundane and pragmatic is borne out by much of the evidence presented in this documentary, making it worthwhile as a historical perspective from a slightly different angle than usually seen when discussing the rise of the Third Reich. ~ Tana Hobart, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

wretched piece of dreck by gophred December 8, 2003 - 11:05 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
This movie was a wretched piece of dreck. Don't be fooled by the high-blown rhetoric in the official description. To those blessed with a healthy intellectual curiosity, the blurb might sound really interesting, right? Problem is that the actual product resembles a high school media project. Extremely disappointing. Rent it if you are looking for a prime example of truly primitive documentary technique.

Large on Examples, Short on the discussion of them. by SethBenson June 19, 2003 - 7:09 AM PDT
4 out of 6 members found this review helpful
I first watched this film on television several years ago. I was astonished at how clearly it outlined the philosophical evolution of the Third Reich. The film leads you through Hitler?s early days as an aspiring painter and then aspiring architect. When both reject him, he eventually becomes leader of the country in order that he may have his own say on art and what constitutes dementia. I am editing and paraphrasing of course. The film starts with the overall philosophy of the Third Reich with Hitler as the ?Tribune? and the German people representing the body of the German ?Volk? (Folk). It then pursues the artistic and aesthetic hygiene of the Third Reich. Finally, it descends to where all documentaries must on this subject, the final solution and the eradication of the Jews. What sets this documentary apart is the abundance of documentation in the form of Hitler?s painting?s, Nazi propaganda, and newsreel footage. If the documentary fails, I think it fails when it provides us with no discussion on its comments. At one point we are shown several paintings Hitler created himself. However, the narrator states they are obviously of low quality and of little vision, but we are given no explanation as to why they are judged this way. To one who has never painted they look quite talented and intriguing. Regardless of this, Architecture of Doom is worthy of a viewing simply for the archival images it takes out of the darkness and displays; as well as a beginners guide to understanding the philosophy of the Nazi movement.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.58)
26 Votes
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