Alfred Hitchcock made films in which birds attacked mankind, in which a psychopath killed women in the shower, and in which a man holed up in his room could witness a murder about to unfold. Yet his most disturbing film was never seen by the public and has been buried for 70 years.
In 1945, Hitchcock was commissioned to make German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, a documentary to be filmed at the Bergen-Bensen concentration camp during the Holocaust at the end of World War II. Hitchcock and a crew of filmmakers captured unspeakable horrors at the hands of the Nazis. But for a variety of reasons, in part because Billy Wilder was commissioned to make another film, in part because diplomacy was moving forward and in part because the footage was so gruesome, that Hitchcock’s work was buried and unfinished.
Now Director Andre Singer, along with producer Brett Ratner, has completed a documentary about the making of and restoration of Hitchcock’s only documentary project. Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, Night Will Fall is set to show on HBO Monday January 26 at 9 PM EST as part of HBO’s documentary series. The documentary will include plenty of footage from Hitchcock’s movie as well as testimony as to why it went unfinished. Newsweek has a captivating written account of the film’s details. Here’s a taste:
“You couldn’t tell if they were dead or alive,” Benjamin Ferencz, a sergeant with the U.S. Third Army, recalls in the documentary. “You’d step over a body and it would suddenly wave at you, raise a hand. Total chaos. Dysentery, typhoid, all kinds of diseases in the camp. Putrid. The smell of the camps, the crematorium was still going, the dead bodies piled up like cordwood in front of the crematorium. It’s hard to imagine for a normal human mind.
Watch the trailer for Singer’s Night Will Fall below: