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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Holocaust > Nazis > Genocide > German > Council Of The Gods (1950/DEFA/First Run)

Council Of The Gods (1950/DEFA/First Run)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: B



Though his gas invention Zyklon-B was the pesticide-based gas that killed millions in The Holocaust, little has been said or shown about its corporate inventor, I.G. Farben.  The main scientist/developer Dr. Hans Scholz (Fritz Tillmann) intends to remain “politically neutral” as he develops the gas, known what it is for but amazingly denying the extent of which it can kill and what it is going to be used for.


By the time he does, it is too late, but does that mean he will try and stop it, admit he’s wrong or come out publicly against it?  Besides being too late in some respects and always having the option of defecting, the additional problem is in all the corporation and big money interests supporting the progress at his company for such a gas.


In going after capitalism, it is a pro-Communist/Soviet film, yet we know now more than ever about certain U.S. interests that supported the Holocaust, no matter how often it is ignored in the media.  It ignores Stalinism altogether, but its critique of Nazi-influences corporations is inarguable.  That is why it holds up so well and the Communist angle is never overplayed to its advantage.  Be warned that some scenes are chilling.


The 1.33 X 1 black and white image is good for its age and has some detail limits, but the Video Black is thick enough to offset some of that and makes it more watchable.  Friedl Behn-Grund’s cinematography furthers the narrative in ominous ways, with amazing shots and compositions throughout.  The German Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is a bit brittle at times, but good for its age.  Oscar Sala, who did the electronic sounds for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds with Bernard Herrmann, did an electronic score here that is very effective.  Extras include stills, text on the filmmakers, 3 vintage trailers, newsreels and two interviews:  one with director Maetzig and the other with set designer Willy Schiller.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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