Tue, Dec 07, 2004 - Page 6 News List

Hitler is top of the Pathe News Web site pops

THE GUARDIAN , LONDON

In the old newsreel, he looks like the kind of man you might have invited home to dinner -- smiling, relaxed, well-groomed, good suit.

But it is the little blobby moustache, the weirdly shaped searchlit crosses his followers carried and, above all, the knowledge of what he did afterwards that makes the image compulsive.

Almost 60 years after his suicide in a Berlin bunker, Adolf Hitler is still the prime figure most people associate with the 20th century.

The Nazi leader yesterday emerged far ahead of Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Mother Teresa or the discoverer of penicillin, Alexander Fleming, in the 20 most popular film clips viewed on the Pathe News online film archive. Eighty seconds of footage catches Hitler in his first moment of national triumph as newly appointed German chancellor in 1933. The headline says: A Wondering World Awaits ... What?

It has attracted more than four times as many downloads as the next two most popular clips of world leaders: Churchill viewing the Empire State building in 1932 and Kennedy's 1963 assassination.

It comes second in the Pathe top 20 downloads: Footage of the launch of the Titanic in 1912 received three times as many, no doubt thanks mainly to films of the ship's sinking by an iceberg.

Also highly ranked are D-day, the Luftwaffe's 1940 Blitz on London and the Beatles. The Pathe Web site is ranked by Google as the world's third most popular online news archive. Pathe News -- with its motif of a crowing cockerel -- was the dominant UK newsreel for much of the 20th century.

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