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Thursday, October 28, 2021

‘Beyond the cult of Churchill’: New Netflix film Munich shows Chamberlain in ‘sympathetic light’

Munich will tell the story largely through two fictional characters: Hugh Legat (George MacKay), a British civil servant travelling with Chamberlain to Germany, and Paul von Hartmann, a German diplomat in Hitler’s employ. The two young men were students together at Oxford, but now find themselves on opposite sides of the divide.

Casting an actor to play Hitler was a problem, because it is a role few Germans want. The film’s German director, Christian Schwochow, explained: “It was really difficult to find an actor, because once you’ve played Hitler you stay Hitler until the end of your life.”

In the end the role went to Ulrich Matthes, an actor who previously played Joseph Goebbels in the 2004 film Downfall.

Filming in Germany was also problematic. The producers were granted special dispensation to transform areas of Berlin and Munich into Nazi-era cities, as usually it is illegal to display swastikas.

‘We were hanging gigantic swastikas and they were obviously very sensitive about it’

They also managed to film inside the Fuhrerbau building where the Munich Agreement was signed. It is now a music school, and Netflix sent a 20-strong delegation to persuade the headmaster to let them film there.

“We were hanging gigantic swastikas and they were obviously very sensitive about it,” said Eaton. “[The school] actually put out a press release saying, ‘We just want to make it really clear we don’t support the idea of Nazism.’ I would have thought that was fairly obvious, but that just shows how sensitive it is even today.”

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