Martin Freeman and Anthony LaPaglia star in BBC Two’s 90 minute film The Eichmann Show about the televising of the trial of Adolf Eichmann – one of the key architects of the Holocaust.
Described as the ‘trial of the century’, it was shown on TV in 37 countries and was the first time the horror of the death camps had been heard live directly from its victims. The trial became the world’s first ever global TV event, and this film tells the extraordinary story of the production team that overcame enormous obstacles to capture the testimony of one of the war’s most notorious Nazis.
Set in Jerusalem, 1961, ground-breaking TV producer Milton Fruchtman hires director Leo Hurwitz to film the trial. A critically-acclaimed filmmaker who had pioneered multi-camera studio broadcasting, Hurwitz had been blacklisted under McCarthy for more than a decade. Arriving in Jerusalem, Hurwitz has a momentous job on his hands: together he and Milton must quickly train up an inexperienced camera team and persuade the judges to change their minds and let them film the trial. Working under intense pressure, the team finally wins permission to film by rebuilding the courtroom with specially concealed cameras.
Over the next four months, the trial highlights – hastily cut together at the end of each day and couriered around the world – would have a profound and sensational effect. Day after day, Holocaust survivors shared their shocking testimony with a global audience, and day after day Adolf Eichmann stunned the world with his apparent lack of contrition. Eighty percent of the German population watch at least one hour a week. It went out on all three US networks with daily news bulletins in the UK. People fainted when they saw it on TV, and it was the first time many start openly sharing their experiences of the Holocaust. The extraordinary story of how the trial came to be televised and the team that made it happen has never been told.
The film also features extensive archive footage from the 1961 trial, bringing the realities of this pivotal event to a new generation.
UK / BBC Two – Feelgood Fiction / 1×90 minute episode / Broadcast Tuesday 20 January 2015 @ 9.00pm
Writer: Simon Block / Producers: Laurence Bowen, Ken Marshall / Director: Paul Andrew Williams
Martin Freeman as Milton Fruchtman
Anthony LaPaglia as Leo Hurwitz
Rebecca Front as Mrs Landau
Andy Nyman as David Landor
Yaakov JonilowiczNicholas Woodeson as
Vaidotas Martinaitis as Adolf Eichmann
Ben Addis as Ron Huntsman
Caroline Bartleet as Judy Gold
Zora Bishop as Eva Fruchtman
Ed Birch as Millek Knebel
Dylan Edwards as Roy Sedwell
Nathaniel Gleed as Tommy Hurwitz
Anna-Louise Plowman as Jane Hurwitz
Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Alan Rosenthal
Justin Salinger as David Arad
Solomon Mousley as Perry
Nell Mooney as NY Times journalists wife
Ian Porter as NY Times journalist