Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust
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Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust
The American film industry took it upon itself to act as a cheerleader for United States and Allied military interests during World War II, but Hollywood was initially reluctant to directly condemn Nazi anti-Semitism, and it wasn't until years after the war ended that American filmmakers began offering a realistic, dramatic look at the horrible toll of Hitler's "final solution." Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust is a documentary which examines how filmmakers reacted to German scapegoating of Jews before, during, and after the war, ranging from the boldness of… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Imaginary Witness is powerful and complex, and few will manage to make it through to the end without gasping, weeping or covering their eyes."
‑ Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic
"Anker's excavated some remarkable stuff here..."
‑ Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
"Noteworthy for clips from less familiar films and newsreels, and interviews with creative participants in groundbreaking films."
‑ Nora Lee Mandel,
"Sheds light on the paradoxes and political maneuvering that went on in the studios."
‑ Bill White, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Imaginary Witness works fine as an illustrated history, but the material could've supported something more probing and provocative."
‑ Noel Murray, AV Club
"Anker's film is an important one, shining a light on that red stain and how we saw it filtered through Hollywood's lens."
‑ Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
"This solid, clip-heavy history of Hollywood's narrative efforts pushes past sobriety to arrive at some tough ideas."
‑ Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
"Originally made for AMC, its solid collection of clips does illustrate one salient point: Depicting evil poorly is a sin unto itself."
‑ Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Daily News
"Falls into the some of the same traps as the films it politely criticizes."
‑ Eric Monder, Film Journal International
"Uses an ample supply of clips from dozens of films to shows how Hollywood at first declined to portray the horrors of the Holocaust before going all-out to graphically exhibit the dimensions of evil."
‑ Harvey S. Karten, Compuserve
"Daniel Anker's film faults Hollywood both for ignoring the Holocaust during the war years and for trivializing it later. It's a mixed message that coheres largely thanks to Anker's archival spadework and his luck in securing interviews."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"Deserves merit for detailing a painful subject with maturity and intelligence"
‑ Phil Hall, Film Threat
"Some of the speakers are a bit too self-congratulatory, but the film is still hugely informative."
‑ Andy Klein, Los Angeles CityBeat
"Daniel Anker's 90-minute documentary takes on over 60 years of a very complex subject: Hollywood's complicated, often contradictory relationship with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"The most dispassionate account of the Holocaust in the last 20 years."
‑ Paul Schrodt, Slant Magazine
More reviews for Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust on Rotten Tomatoes