Nazi Medicine/The Cross
& The Star (documentaries)
Sound: C Extras: D Films: B/B-
John J. Michalczyk has been a documentary filmmaker and
book writer for many years and two of his audio/visual works are paired
together on DVD. Nazi Medicine
(1997) is the tale of how Eugenics began in the United States, then blossomed
into a living nightmare in a Germany willing to go farther than the U.S. ever
could have hoped to. To see Andrew
Carnegie and John Rockefeller the first support the basic research is bad
enough, but the program delves further into what kind of sick quackery the Nazi
physicians and party members went fourth with.
It is a bold work that many would say does not go far enough in exposing
the graphic details, while its 54 minutes length could never be long enough in
The Cross & The Star (1992) shows
anti-Jewish tendencies in parts of many versions of The Holy Bible’s New
Testament, as well as Christianity itself.
This work pulls no punches either, but goes out of its way to interview
all kinds of scholars and experts on the subject. Though it also accurately shows ignorance and even participation
of so-called Christians in the Holocaust, not to mention overall cultural
ignorance and bigotry in these matters, it does not bash Christianity
outright. That was not easy, but this
is a thorough work that those with religious interests should see the most.
Both film are full screen, 1.33 X 1, mixing monochrome and
color footage and stills. They were
both shot on older analog videotape, but that is not much of a distraction. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is just fine and
clear enough in both cases, not sounding too compressed, though audio varies,
as it is on most documentaries. Besides
information on director Michalczyk, the other brief extras are a compilation of
window shots inside death camps and a photo gallery “tour” of The Reich itself.
One of the recent complaints since these programs were
completed is that films on the Holocaust (documentary and dramatic) are so much
on the upswing, that the field of them has become overcrowded. Even more disturbing, the legitimate fear
that all these works could trivialize the Holocaust. That remains to be seen, especially since so many of the films
come and go by their sheer weakness.
These films are groundbreakers that endure well and are must-sees.
- Nicholas Sheffo