Film Info: Conversation with the Beast

Conversation with the Beast

Conversation with the Beast

Our story takes place in the present day and deals with a 10 day encounter between an American historian, Webster, and an old man who may or may not be Adolf Hitler. This "Hitler" claims that Goebbels had engaged six doubles to impersonate him for purposes of security and public appearances. After the capitulation of the Third Reich, Hitler had to die for the sake of vindication. There could be no doubt of his death. Therefore, he took over the identity of an actor, Kronstaedt, the impersonator who had volunteered to die in his place. In Berlin, Hitler met Hortense, who became his wife. His efforts to resume his true identity fail miserably. Webster is relentless in his efforts to analyze the details of Hitler's account and reveal him as both man and figure. At the same time, he is constantly plagued by the worry that he is being taken in by an imposter. In Paris he finds the proof - the man must be Hitler ...


Armin Mueller-Stahl was born in Tilsit/East Prussia on 1930 and began his film career in 1950, soon becoming one of the prolific actors in the East German cinema. In 1976, he was blacklisted by the East German government for signing the Biermann Resolution and moved to West Germany in 1980. He made his West German acting debut in Fassbinder's Lola (1981) and has also worked internationally in film and television. His recent credits include Costa Gavras' Music Box (1989), George Sluizer's Utz (1992), Barry Levinson's Avalon (1991), Steven Soderbergh's Kafka (1991), John Avildsen's The Power of One (1992), and Volker Schloendorff's The Ogre. Conversation with the Beast (1996) is until now his only film as a director.
Category Feature
Director Armin Mueller-Stahl
Screenplay Armin Mueller-Stahl
Cinematography Gerard Vandenberg
Ingo Ehrlich
Klaus-Peter Beyer
Cast Armin Mueller-Stahl, Bob Balaban, Katharina Boehm, Dietmar Mues
Production Company Rudolf Steiner TV Film/Berlin, in co-production with ZDF/Mainz, ARTE, ORB/Potsdam, Malinka Productions/Marina Del Rey
Length 96 min
Format 35 mm, color
Dubbed Versions German
Original Version
 English
Sound Technology Stereo
Festivals Toronto 1996

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