Synopsis

Fritz is a falsifier drawing a picture of Eva Braun, the girlfriend of Adolf Hitler. He meets Hermann and tells him about some Nazi- material he knows about. Herrmann, working for a great German magazine, pays for everything he can get, and so Fritz starts to write "Hitlers private daybook". The story covers a real event that happend in Germany in the middle of the eighties.

Director

Helmut Dietl

Cast

Ulrich Mühe
as Dr. Wieland
Uwe Ochsenknecht
as Prof. Dr. Fritz Knobel
Götz George
as Hermann Willié
Rolf Hoppe
as Karl Lentz
Christiane Hörbiger
as Freya von Hepp
Harald Juhnke
as Pit Kummer

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by akirasan N/A

Farce!

I don't understand why this German satire, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, has never been released in NTSC video format. There are numerous lesser foreign films available on video in the US and Canada, but mysteriously not "Schtonk!". I've wanted to see this movie for years and seized the opportunity the other day when I found it at a movie lover's video store (Scarecrow Video, Seattle, WA) in PAL format. This required me to rent a machine that converts the PAL signal, and as I paid the $800 deposit to the store clerk for said machine I joked, "This better be worth the wait" (and the deposit).

The success of the comedy in "Schtonk!" is due to the fact that it is based in fact. If it weren't for this being an actual event in German history, the ludicrous story would seem just too stupid to be funny. The idiocy of the characters actions is of course embellished, which is why the movie is so good. The magazine reporter desperate for a scandalous scoop is brilliantly played like a man who wants the big story so bad he will believe anything. And he does. Once he stumbles on to the Hitler "diaries" he and the rest of the press can't get enough. This movie obviously works on several levels, some of which I don't quite appreciate being I am not German, but one universal statement is that of the press having the role of gatekeeper, the ability to decide what is a "story", and the consequences when that ability is misused.

I've seen Uwe Ochsenknecht in a couple of Doris Dörrie movies and found him to be a talented comedic actor. His portrayal of the "diaries" forger is one more great performance. The farcical telling of his role in the hoax serves as a vital display of how absurd and fascinating a story this con was. Such details as his reasoning for using the initials F.H. and his taking on the characteristics of Hitler the deeper he got into his work are hilarious subtleties that play an important part in the greater humor of the entire film. The story did seem to drag on in a couple places, perhaps a little more editing could have been implemented, but that won't deter me from recommending this fun satire or seeing it again and again myself. I've been looking forward to seeing "Schtonk!" for the last 12 years, and now that I've seen it I can honestly say I am not disappointed.

Reviewed by mp.visser N/A

One of the most brilliant German movies

This film is a must see for everybody who heard of the Hitler diary affair. Although the real affair is larger then life, and, according to many even more absurd that the movie, it is a must see.

The DVD is excellent, and I have watched it over and over again. Scenes are excellent, the way Christiane Hörbiger is addressed by Götz George, over and over again by the title of her late husband. His obsession for detail in restoring the ship he bought and finding Nazi `nick-nacks' It is all just too much to mention. One thing though, the better you know German, and Germany, the better you will understand the in-jokes. A lot of the humour is very subtle, and even in the comments here is misunderstood. Karl Schönböck for instance just claims to be an intimate friend of the Führer, he never was really, he is an fake, just like the diary's. He is brilliant at it. When Uwe Ochsenknecht is selling a painting of Eva Braun he just painted, as an original, Karl Schönböck claims he was there when Hitler painted it. The film just goes on and on like a rollercoaster and it is just unbelievable that Stern fell for this one. When something sounds to good to be true, it is, is a wisdom many people do not seem to have. However, like in House of Games, David Mamets brilliant movie on how scams work, you cannot cheat an honest man.

See this movie, buy the T Shirt, read the book, and never trust somebody who wants to make you rich.

Reviewed by mettes1 10 /10

Top Comedy

This is one of my all time favorite comedies. It only works if you manage to see the irony behind it, though. (But it's so obvious that it's hard to miss). It is easily the best of Dietl's works I've seen so far and addresses topics such as responsibility of the media, coming to terms with the past (or rather not coming to terms with it?), greed and ethics in journalism. The acting (especially Götz George) is awesome. It's one of those few movies that I can watch over and over again and still keel over with laughter at some scenes. Konstantin Wecker's score is one of the best I know and perfectly supports the plot.

Based on the true case (!) of master-forger Konrad Kujau who, in 1983, fooled the renowned German magazine "Stern" by selling it his faked Hitler diaries for millions of Marks. Kujau was sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison but was released after 3 years because of cancer. He became so famous through this affair that, in 2006, faked Kujau fakes were sold on ebay.

Against the backdrop of these true events Dietl develops his story of greedy men who bring out the worst in each other and who are going blind to an extend that it borders delusion.

It's a straight 10 out of 10!

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