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Critics pan Hitler comedy

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2007-01-09

Mein Fuehrer

Mein Fuehrer

A controversial German comedy about Adolf Hitler, which portrays the Nazi leader as a bedwetter, has been panned by critics and even its lead actor, just days before it is due to open in its home country on Thursday.

Mein Fuehrer – The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler – is set towards the end of World War II. In the film, Hitler is feeling down as things are not going according to plan. As a result, his propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels brings back a Jewish acting coach, Adolf Gruenbaum, from a concentration camp to help inspire the Fuehrer and raise his spirits.

But actor Helge Schneider has slammed Jewish director Dani Levy's film. Schneider, who plays Hitler in the movie, said, "It didn't thrill me. I just don't find it funny," and claims that by recutting the film, Levy has made it "boring".

Levy defended the cuts on the grounds that the audience thought Hitler was the film's protagonist, and not Adolf Gruenbaum.

One scathing review on the German movie site filmstarts.de, said, "There's a good chance that the majority of the audience will have dozed off in boredom before the final speech."

"Making fun of Hitler isn't breaking any taboos," Schneider added, "Saying what you really think of a movie you were involved in probably is."

The critics and lead actor's criticism will come as a blow to Swiss-born Levy, who previously wowed critics and audiences alike with the hit comedy Go For Zucker. The tale of what happens when two Jewish brothers from different backgrounds are reunited after the Berlin Wall falls down, was a major hit.

But despite the panning, Levy stands by his film and his reasons for making it.

"I think it is important that we create new pictures of our own, also of the Holocaust or Nazism, and not always work off the old, realistic pictures, because I think that just makes us lazy and tired, and we don't learn anything from it," he said.