23 January 2022 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Lord Haw-Haw: Portrait of a Fanatic
YEAR: 2005
DIRECTOR: Brian Gilbert    
WRITER: Brian Gilbert      
PRODUCER: Virginia Gilbert         
EDITOR: Lance Daly    Ross O'Callaghan   
DOP: Ruairi O'Brien    Ross O'Callaghan   

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On a bitterly cold morning in January 1946, an Irishman whose voice was as well known as Churchill's, was hanged in England's grim Wandsworth gaol. It was always inconceivable that William Joyce, known to millions as `Lord Haw-Haw', would escape the death penalty. However, just as with Roger Casement a generation earlier, it took considerable legal ingenuity on the part of the British establishment to ensure that Joyce was hanged. Lord Haw-Haw was the classic traitor. Broadcasting to millions from Nazi Germany, he played a part in sapping the collective spirit of wartime Britain. A grotesque figure, laughed at but secretly feared, his psychological defiance was mythologised by prolonged wartime anxiety. Hitler's Irishman: The Story of Lord Haw-Haw is a documentary by noted British feature film director, Brian Gilbert, for whom the story of William Joyce has been a lifelong obsession. In all Gilbert's work (e.g. `Wilde', `Tom and Viv', `Not Without My Daughter'), he has sought to peel away the layers of complex characters and reveal the dark heart of fanaticism, self-invention and attachment to ideals at all cost.

Hitler's Irishman: The story of Lord Haw-Haw is a creative documentary portrait of the compulsive and complex Irishman who recreated himself in a romantic and imagined ideal of Englishness, which he took to a monstrous and fanatical degree that would ultimately lead to his own undoing. Fascist thug? Irish intellectual? British traitor? German hero? Who, in fact, was the real William Joyce?

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