DiplomacySuggested by Brad Nelson • A historical drama that depicts the relationship between Dietrich von Choltitz, the German military governor of occupied Paris, and Swedish consul-general Raoul Nordling. Choltiz is ordered to blow Paris up. Nordling is trying to talk him out of it.
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3 Responses to Diplomatie

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This is probably the most concentrated bit of Swedish porn you’ll ever run across…although to be fair, this appears to be a French/German production.

    An ambassador from neutral Sweden (and neutrality regarding the Nazis is hardly a badge of honor) intervenes to try to save the City of Light. He has opportunity to castigate both the Allies and Germany for the awful destruction. Again, this is why I say this has to be considered a great piece of political porn by the Swedes. but there’s only one such incident, and what the diplomat says can be understood rightly as his willingness to say whatever he has to in order to save Paris. Still.

    From reading a few reviews, I understand that this historical drama is a condensation and simplification of days or weeks of events. But it does work very well in this regard as a conversation between these two men. It’s a movie based almost entire on intelligent dialogue. Most of the movie takes place in the office of the German governor of Paris. This is not for those who are challenged with attention deficit disorder.

    The Allies have landed at Normandy and are approaching Paris. The Germans have rigged all of the major historical, religious, and artistic structures of Paris for demolition. Even better, they planned to blow all but one of the bridges on the Seine. The demolitions experts expect this to clog the Seine and cause it to overflow — by as much as three meters in large sections of the city. A million or more casualties are gleefully expected by the Germans.

    The city of Paris, once the jewel in the crown of Hitler, is now an insult, given that it is undamaged while Berlin and many German cities are in ruins. Hitler, who has gone from evil to evil and mad, has ordered its destruction. To ensure that the governor carries out his orders, he had passed a law prior to the appointment of the governor which basically meant that the governor’s wife and children are being held hostage. Even if he wanted to subvert the destruction — and he does not…it’s small fry to some extent compared to the part he’s already played in exterminating some Jews — he’s in a pickle.

    Well acted. Smart dialogue. And the movie is blessedly concise at 84 minutes.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    One might note that this is also the subject of the book and movie Is Paris Burning? (I read the book, but never saw the movie). Note that when MAD Magazine did a brief parody of the movie, they pointed out that Hitler was the only German who ever actually spoke German (“Brennt Paris?”) in the movie.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      That doesn’t sound like a bad movie. I don’t think I’ve seen it. Charles Boyer. Glenn Ford. Kirk Douglas. Gert Frobe. That’s a very strong cast. I’ll have to see if I can find that. Thanks for the recommendation.

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