Downfall Character Studies

  • Created by: Esmeelen
  • Created on: 10-04-18 17:52

Adolf Hitler

Not the main character - as we would expect of a film that is about the final days of Hitler

It was a controversial portrayal as this was the first time Hitler was allowed to be portrayed in a German made film since the end of the war as previously it had been illegal in Germany to portray Hitler in a fictional light in TV, film or other media.

Visually he is shrunken, shaking, old and small - challenging the perceptions of what an audience would think of Hitler as a villain. He is unassuming and frail creating somewhat of a sympathy with him as a character due to his lack of physical strength and power

  • Contrasted with his outbursts of rage where he shouts at his high ranking officials, showing the power of control he has over those around him despite his lack of physical strength - almost like he is mentally manipulating them.

Though the imagery of a frail and angry old man makes him seem delusional or like a ‘madman’ - undermining the regime of the Nazi’s as a whole as they were blindly following a man that was so obviously losing his grip on reality

  • Him looking at the Architects plan for the city of Berlin - that is lavish and expansive (like an ancient roman or Greek city) including a pantheon, called ‘the hall of glory’ while the Berlin outside of the bunker is being taken over and destroyed by the Soviet army.
  • Low angle shot looking up at him over this hall makes him a looming figure over Berlin and life within it - making him intimidating and shows the power he holds over the city.

Sentimentality and compassion towards animals and children - in this regard Hitler is not shown as an absolute monster as he has a genuine love and compassion towards his dog, Blondi and he is kind to Traudl, the Goebbels’ children and to Peter.

  • Described within the film as a “teetotal, non-smoking, vegetarian”, showing that he had a moral compass in terms of a high regard for animals and respected his own health.
  • He has a statue of his dog on his desk, is never shown eating meat despite those around him having relatively lavish meals.

Framing - shows him to be small

  • Purposeful long shots of him touching Otto’s chest, or shots of him beside row of new female employees as he is drastically shorter or at eye-level with these people

The camera is kept at eye-level with Hitler. We are not respecting nor disrespecting him. Humanising him as a villain though this could arguably make the evil even more scary to an audience as he is not an incomprehensible evil, but a human just like them.

  • He is referred to almost exclusively as ‘Furher’ even by those closest to him

(including his wife/girlfriend) showing his superiority over all of the other characters, as though he is a god.

This also plays on the assumed


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