Grey Wolf (film)

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Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler is a 2014 film directed and written by Gerrard Williams and produced by Magnus Peterson.[1] The film is a drama documentary based on the book of the same name by Gerrard Williams and Simon Dunstan. The film and associated book were given extensive coverage in the British media.

Plot[edit]

The film concerns the allegations by its makers that Adolf Hitler did not die in his Berlin bunker in 1945 but escaped, along with Eva Braun and several other Nazi officials, to Argentina and lived six miles east of Bariloche. According to the film-makers, Hitler's escape was organised by Martin Bormann, who also fled to Argentina, and was aided and abetted by the Government of Juan Perón. The film also alleges that American intelligence agencies were aware Hitler was in Argentina, and that significant funds were also taken from Germany to Argentina and that these were later stolen by Bormann. The film alleges that Hitler died in Argentina alone, poor and mentally ill in 1962,[2] leaving behind a wife and at least one child.

Cast[edit]

Production and filming[edit]

The film was initially produced by two interrelated UK companies, Gerbil Films Ltd and Lobos Gris Ltd. Subsequent to filming, the rights to the film passed to a third company, Grey Wolf Media Ltd, who were responsible for its final release. The film was distributed worldwide by Australian Distributor Galloping Films. In May 2016, Grey Wolf Media Ltd was compulsorily wound up under the Companies Act 2006 and the rights to the film became Bona Vacantia, and as such the ownership of the film rights passed to the UK Crown.

The film was filmed during 2008 in Argentina, using local actors and also many local extras. Although produced by an English company, the film is mainly in Spanish with English subtitles.

Reception[edit]

The film was released straight to DVD in 2014 and was not therefore subject to significant critical film review. However, on Amazon UK, 42% of purchasers gave it a five star rating while 25% gave it a one star rating.[3] On Amazon.com, 57% gave it a five star rating and 29% a one star rating.[4]

The liquidators of Grey Wolf Media limited described in the film as "largely unsuccessful" in their May 2018 Progress Report and identified that it generated revenues of only AUD$55,000 AUD (about $39,000) and that much of this was paid in the form of guarantees by distributors rather than sales.[5]

Controversies[edit]

The film is one of many conspiracy theories about Adolf Hitler's death. Such viewpoints are regarded by historians and scientific experts as disproven fringe theories.[6][7] This theory of Hitler's flight to Argentina has been dismissed by historians, including Guy Walters.[8] He has described Dunstan and Williams' theory as "rubbish", adding: "There's no substance to it at all. It appeals to the deluded fantasies of conspiracy theorists".[9] Walters contends that "it is simply impossible to believe that so many people could keep such a grand scale deception so quiet,"[7] and says that no serious historian would give the story any credence.[7]

Weavering Capital[edit]

A significant controversy about the film relates to its funding and its link to the Weavering Capital scandal. Weavering Capital was a UK-based Hedge Fund Management Company that collapsed in 2009[10] after it was discovered that $600M of investors' money had been lost, mainly due to bogus swap contracts created by its Managing Director, Magnus Peterson. Peterson was also the producer of the Grey Wolf film and along with Williams held significant financial interests in both Gerbil Films Ltd[11] and Lobos Gris Ltd.[12]

During efforts by the Official Receiver of Weavering Capital to recover the missing money, it was discovered that, in addition to the bogus swap contracts, Peterson had used investors' money without their permission to fund a number of personal projects including the Grey Wolf film. At least $1.3M of investors' money was identified as having been spent on the film, although the Weavering Capital accounts showed an investment valued at $4.47M.[13] It was also discovered that, while acting fraudulently, Peterson had also taken $9M in fees from Weavering Capital, and his wife, also a Weavering Director, $4.3M[14] and that during this period these two individuals also invested personally in the film through an investment vehicle they jointly owned called Magnumhold Ltd.[15]

Following the collapse of Weavering Capital, both of the companies involved in the production of the film also collapsed. Lobos Gris Ltd was put into receivership in March 2010, leaving $345k of unpaid creditors.[16] In August 2012, Gerbil Films was dissolved via compulsory strike-off. Its last published accounts showed $465k of unpaid creditors.[17]

On the liquidation of Lobos Gris Ltd, the rights to the film were purchased by Grey Wolf Media Ltd, a new company mainly owned by Williams and Peterson. This purchase was again funded from Peterson's investment vehicle, Magnumhold Ltd, in the form of share capital and loans to Grey Wolf Media and its director which totalled $294k by March 2011 Ltd, while the December 2015 liquidators' report shows an investment with an alleged value of $737k.[15]

At a civil trial in 2012, Peterson, his wife and two other directors were found liable for the losses at Weavering Capital and ordered to pay $450M in damages,[18] making them effectively bankrupt and leading to the liquidation of Magnumhold Ltd. In a 2015 criminal trial, Magnus Peterson was found guilty of 8 charges of fraud and related offences in relation to his role as Managing Director of Weavering Capital[19] and sentenced to 13 years in prison.[20]

As of December 2015, the liquidators are still trying to recover funds spent on the film by Peterson[15] via both Weavering and Magnumhold. However, on 24th May 2016, Grey Wolf Media Ltd was compulsorily wound up under the Companies Act 2016 as no accounts had been filed for over two years.[21] The last published accounts (2014) showed debts of $267k. In total, the 3 companies making the film (Gerbil Films, Lobos Gris & Grey Wolf Media) recorded unpaid debts to creditors of $1.08M.

While the total amount spent is unclear, investigative journalist Laurence de Mello believes the figure to be in excess of $2M[22] but also alleges that there were a number of issues with the projects accounting and governance. The film's Australian distributor lists the budget as $2.3M [23] while IMDb lists it as $3.6M (estimated).[24]

Ricardo D'Aloia[edit]

In 2011, the film and book were hit by a second scandal when Ricardo D'Aloia, editorial director of Ambito Financiero, took issue with some of the claims made by the authors and producers. In both the book and promotional material for the film, it was stated in reference to eyewitness accounts of Hitler being in Argentina that "It is the words of these witnesses, on a tape given to us by the papers' editorial director Ricardo D'Aloia that have contributed to the findings in this book." Mr D'Aloia wrote to the publishers[25] "in order to clarify the fact that the statement is not at all true" and went on to say "I hope you will understand that I do not appreciate in any way having been named in your publication, and so involved in such a unpleasant episode with which I have absolutely no relation".

Abel Basti[edit]

In 2013, the film was hit by a further scandal when Abel Basti, an Argentine Journalist, alleged that the Grey Wolf film and book had plagiarised his work,[26] and began legal action for compensation.[27]

Stormfront[edit]

Further controversy ensued when Gerrard Williams chose to advertise the book and film on Stormfront,[28] the white supremacist website that classifies itself as the voice of the "new embattled white minority", which led to condemnation by some commentators.[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grey Wolf: Hitler's Escape to Argentina (2012)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  2. ^ "Grey Wolf - the Escape of Adolf Hitler". Greywolfmedia.com. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  3. ^ Simon Dunstan; Gerrard Williams:. Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler:. Amazon.co.uk. ISBN 9781454903048. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  4. ^ "Grey Wolf - Escape Of Adolf Hitler [DVD]: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  5. ^ "Liquidators Progress Report".
  6. ^ Lusher, Adam (20 May 2018). "Adolf Hitler really is dead: scientific study debunks conspiracy theories that he escaped to South America". The Independent. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Walters, Guy (28 October 2013). "Did Hitler flee bunker with Eva to Argentina, have two daughters and live to 73? The bizarre theory that's landed two British authors in a bitter war". Mail Online. London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  8. ^ Dewsbury, Rick; Hall, Allan; Harding, Elanor (18 October 2011). "Did Hitler and Eva Braun flee Berlin and die (divorced) of old age in Argentina?". Mail Online. London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  9. ^ Harding, Anna (25 January 2014). "New book claims THIS picture proves Hitler escaped his Berlin bunker and died in South America in 1984 aged 95". Mail Online. London: The Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  10. ^ Simon Bowers (2012-12-14). "Weavering Capital boss found guilty of forgery and fraud | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  11. ^ "GERBIL FILMS LTD - Officers". Companies House. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  12. ^ "LOBOS GRIS LIMITED - Filing history". Companies House. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  13. ^ Wilkes, Tommy (2012-05-30). "Hedge fund boss found guilty in $600 million fraud | Reuters". Uk.reuters.com. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  14. ^ Fletcher, Laurence (2015-01-19). "Weavering Hedge Fund Founder Found Guilty of Fraud". Wsj.com. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  15. ^ a b c "MAGNUMHOLD LIMITED - Filing history". Companies House. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  16. ^ "LOBOS GRIS LIMITED - Insolvency". Companies House. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  17. ^ "GERBIL FILMS LTD - Filing history". Companies House. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  18. ^ Tommy Wilkes (2012-05-31). "Weavering boss Magnus Peterson guilty of fraud | Business News | News". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  19. ^ "Weavering Capital UK Case Information". SFO. April 28, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  20. ^ "Magnus Peterson sentenced to 13 years in prison". Serious Fraud Office. January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  21. ^ https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06471945/filing-history
  22. ^ "Jailed Millionaire Fraudster In Hitler Movie Scam – Goldeneye Publishing". Goldeneyepublishingltd.wordpress.com. 2015-07-20. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  23. ^ "Grey Wolf: Hitler's Escape To Argentina". Galloping Films. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  24. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2493402/business?ref_=tt_dt_bus
  25. ^ Simon Dunstan; Gerrard Williams. "Grey Wolf - The Escape of Adolf Hitler - The Case Presented" (PDF). Barilochenazi.com. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  26. ^ Vanessa Thorpe (October 27, 2013). "Hitler lived until 1962? That's my story, claims Argentinian writer". The Guardian. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  27. ^ Simon Dunstan; Gerrard Williams. "Grey Wolf - The Escape of Adolf Hitler - The Case Presented" (PDF). Barilochenazi.com. Retrieved 2016-01-27.
  28. ^ https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t817402
  29. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-13. Retrieved 2016-03-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)