How did a failed artist rise to become chancellor of Germany, and later the architect of the world's most horrific genocide? What were the social and political circumstances that allowed his message of hate to flourish? Drawing heavily on little-seen archival footage from the '20s and '30s, Fest's enlightening documentary traces the personal evolution of Adolf Hitler from jittery, outspoken rabble-rouser to supremely confident dictator — and mass murderer.
There's plenty out there on the infamous German leader once he rose to absolute power, but Fest's two-and-a-half-hour opus digs deep into the Führer's formative period, demonstrating how he came to understand the power of mass media and regular public appearances. Over time, we see how he shaped his overheated oratory and adjusted his physical bearing to better reflect the image of pure authority and dynamism he wanted to project. "Hitler" thus presents a fascinating dissection of the most ignominious political career of the 20th century.