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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Holocaust > Arts > Last Butterfly

The Last Butterfly


Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: D†††† Film: B-



Before Holocaust films became too disturbingly overproduced, making them was always a touchy and serious affair.Karel Kachynaís The Last Butterfly (1990) joins the two Jacob The Liar films and the problematic Life Is Beautiful as having the human spirit somehow overcome the hell and evil.This is more difficult to suspend disbelief over more than ever.Such films are even sincere, but they tend to miss the point of the evil in ways that cannot be ignored.


Here, Tom Courtenay gives a fine performance as an actor and mime artist hired and hoodwinked by the Nazis into doing the greatest, grandest and most expensive show of his life with some Jewish children.When he finds out this is a hoax and the kids will go to death camps soon after the performance, he decides to do something with the performance the Nazis will not expect.That alone is too close to the disturbing aspects of The Sound Of Music Mel Brooks rightfully attacked in his original film version of The Producers.


In real life, the Nazis would kill any such subversion off in an instant, but they somehow just sit back ala Hoganís Heroes and let the heartfelt moments pour out.It is no longer a path that works in these films, unless you go into some serious denial.Brigitte Fossey and Freddie Jones help the film, but it ultimately does not live up to its intents.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is from a somewhat dated NTSC analog master and it is hard to tell if this is the full camera frame or a tunnel vision copy.Radomil Cech is the cinematographer, shooting one of the last normal color dramas on The Holocaust before the black and white of Schindlerís List changed how such films were shot.This is one of the aspects of the films that ages it sooner than it would otherwise.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has very weak Pro Logic surrounds, which were more pronounced in its Dolby A-type analog theatrical release, showing that the video master and its audio are down a few generations.There are no extras here of any kind.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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