A lot of people probably don’t know it, but when the superb Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, who died Friday at 77, took on the role that brought him his greatest jolt of fame, playing Adolf Hitler in “Downfall,” it was one of the most paradoxical casting choices in modern movies.
Ganz, portraying Hitler in the final days of World War II, when the Führer was trapped in his bunker (and, more than that, in the implosion of his evil dreams), did an impersonation of Hitler at his most full-throttle fulminating. The performance was raging, antic, operatic, possessed; it was true homicidal acting. (That’s one reason why “Downfall” became the movie that launched a thousand Hitler Internet memes.)
One last salute from the Führer Here