“Night Will Fall, ” a documentary about the never released Alfred Hitchcock documentary about the liberation of Auschwitz 70 years ago will air on HBO tonight and in 15 countries around the world as part of the international Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations. It has gotten rave reviews.
Alfred Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein originally filmed a documentary called “German Concentration Camps Factual Survey” about the concentration camps which was supposed to be shown in Germany. But the British government chose to bury the project and the footage that the two men shot for television was never aired. The decision was made because the Cold War had set in and England did not wish to offend the new Democratic German government which had become its NATO ally.
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The original footage was hidden away in England at London’s Imperial War Museum for more than 60 years. This included 5 finished reels of film and 100 compilation reels of unedited footage. Fortunately it was all preserved.
“Night Will Fall, ” was produced by Brett Ratner and Sally Angel, and directed by Andre Singer. It is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter.
The New York Times said, “What the new film accomplishes, more than anything else, is to make you wish you could see the original. That’s possible, but not easy.”
Mathew Gilbert wrote in The Boston Globe, “Watching the unforgettable HBO documentary “Night Will Fall, ” you might detect something almost perverse about the abundant old footage of the liberation of the Nazi death camps. It’s all so slow-moving and resolute. The cameras linger on and graze across the lifeless bodies that were discovered, not just the heaping piles in the mass graves dug deep and wide, but the individual bodies, each one so emaciated and rubbery. Silent close-up shots hesitate on the faces, locked in grimaces of eternal torment and despair, rigor mortis set, teeth missing, skulls cracked open.”
Gerard O’Donovan of England’s the Telegraph said, “As just one of a number of superb films in the ongoing Holocaust memorial season, and commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Night Will Fall stands alongside the likes of Laurence Rees’s extraordinarily moving Touched by Auschwitz and The Eichmann Show, as a vital reminder of the continuing importance of testimony and remembrance.”