This film re-creates the WWI siege of the fortress of Douaumont, as undertaken by German officers Captain Hardt and Lieutenant Radke. Both Hardt and Radke play themselves in the film, as do the surviving soldiers who participated in the siege. Newsreel clips of the war are interspersed with newly shot location footage, and it's no contest: the "original" scenes are far more compelling than the staged sequences. Also, courageous though they were, Hardt and Radke were no actors, nor were the men who served under them. In striving for complete authenticity, director Heinz Paul robbed the film of its vitality.
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