Jump to: navigation, search

The Times (07/Sep/1985) - Hitch in a view of Nazi terror

(c) The Times (07/Sep/1985)


Hitch in a view of Nazi terror

A Painful Reminder (ITV, tomorrow. 11pm-12.15am) contains images which might make strong men as well as children cry. But they are history's own and parents may accordingly wish to make sure that the television set is switched on.

The official British record of the Nazi concentration camps, the film was commissioned by the Crown Film Unit from Sidney, now Lord, Bernstein and intended to be shown in German cinemas. "No German can say he didn't know" insists the commentary, co-written by Richard Crossman, the future cabinet minister.

These sentiments were judged by the British Government to be unsuitable to the bridge-building mood towards Germany. The film was never shown.

Two years ago, Caroline Moorehead's biography of Bernstein produced a twist in the tale, remarkably involving Alfred Hitchcock. He had come from Hollywood to assist Bernstein with the direction, making the suggestion that the footage of skeletal corpses sliding into graves be intercut with shots of German countryside and villages. Barbarism grew from, and existed alongside, civilization.

The revelation of Hitchcock's involvement renewed interest in the film and led to its showing now.