Original Title: Burning Hearts
Director: Veit Harlan
Writers: Alfred Braun; Joseph Goebbels; Veit Harlan
Keywords: Drama, Propaganda
Review by Rickytickytwo (posted on 17-May-2005)
I have both the unrestored VHS and the very recently restored DVD versions of this film. If you are considering this film for purchase, by all means BUY the restored dvd! The reasons are painfully clear when you view the unrestored VHS version: the passing years, poorly stored film, last-ditch effort (literally) of the war and filming, make this a sad remnant. Most, if not the majority of the film's color footage has faded almost beyond repair, it is like watching a ghost of a film.
However, the newly-restored DVD film version is another matter. The colors were painstakingly digitally resmastered, remnants were reworked, and it is a masterpiece of film restoration, via the Berlin Film Museum/Archives. Most of it is in good shape, some of the eye-popping colors are still faded, as it was nearly washed out/faded beyond repair.
The goofs in the film are miniscule, and the story is approached as a last-ditch effort to shore up morale amongst the German citizenry during the final stages of WWII. In fact, the real city of Kolberg had fallen to Russian bombardment already, which was kept from the public on orders of Goebbels himself. He was definitely a film wannabe, and if one ignores the obvious propaganda beeswax, you can see an epic film made to serve as a too-belated propaganda vehicle.
In no way do I espouse the film's viewpoints, I see it as a fas cinating costumed epic that utilized, shockingly enough, some 187,000+ extras purportedly, some were Wermacht soldiers brought to the film-from the Russian Front! By then, 1945, it didn't really matter anymore, but it is a fascinating cinema footnote.
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