In Hitler: the Rise of Evil (Channel 4 TV) Robert Carlyle gives a brilliant portrayal of the maniac himself. Carlyle condenses what he was politically and socially into a personality. We see his manner, body language, servile and half-fawning, like a dog with his tail down, towards his social "betters". We see the connection between his floundering attempts to find his own place in the world and his cranky nationalism, his need to find scapegoats and "conspirators" to explain the terrible things that happen to himself and to Germany.
It seems unlikely that the real Hitler was so obviously the out-in-the-open neurotic crank Robert Carlyle depicts, but it is certain that that is what he was "on the inside".
We see Hitler catch the anti-semitic infection from the all-pervasive Catholic political anti-semitism in Vienna, personified by mayor Karl Lüger. The lines of history and personality are sharply drawn, yet caricature is avoided. So is dehumanisation.
This is a pitiable fellow, psychologically maimed and twisted by life, beginning with the relentless violence inflicted on the child Hitler by his brutal elderly father. (Hitler's alter ego, Stalin, was also savagely beaten by his father as a child )
The story of Nazism is the story of how maimed and sick cranks such as Hitler and Himmler were given power by the bourgeoisie in the strongest state in Europe - and allowed to consolidate it by the powerful but criminally misled German labour movement.
Reviewer: Jane Ryan