Conspiracy (2001): Frank Pierson’s Intense Dramatization of ’42 Wannsee Conference

BBC/HBO’s WWII picture used the only surviving transcript of the infamous Wannsee Conference outside Berlin, where Nazi bigwigs covertly planned the ‘Final Solution of the Jewish Question’.


Conspiracy Kenneth Branagh


The phrase ‘the banality of evil’ is never more apt than in the case of Conspiracy, where the bureaucrats treat their genocidal task as a purely a matter of logistics, manpower and costs.


Only Friedrich Wilhelm Kritzinger (David Threlfall), the Deputy Head of the Reich Chancellery expresses any qualms whilst the others fall into line, some of the slightly less enthusiastic attendees aware that the intimidating conference organiser SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich (Kenneth Branagh) will be noting any reluctance. 


Both Branagh and Kevin McNally (the toadying Martin Luther in Conspiracy) also appeared in 2008’s Valkyrie, this time as the anti-Nazis Major General Henning von Tresckow and Dr. Carl Friedrich Goerdeler respectively.


Valkyrie (4/11) Movie CLIP - We Have to Kill Hitler (2008) HD

Other cast members include Colin Firth,  Stanley Tucci and an early appearance by a young Tom Hiddleston.


Director Frank Pierson (1925-2012) also wrote the scripts for Cool Hand Luke (1967), Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and towards the end of life some episodes of Mad Men.


In 1992 he helmed Citizen Cohn, the HBO biopic of U.S. President Trump’s former lawyer/mentor, the scummy Roy Cohn, played by James Woods, himself a prominent Trump supporter nowadays.


Full movie after the trailer.

Citizen Cohn Trailer 1992

Citizen Cohn 1992 (Starring James Woods)

Stephen Arnell

Culture Comment Content Provider. Portrait courtesy of artist Darren Coffield. 'Non satis me tempo'