Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Virtually every Lutheran schoolchild in America has been obliged to sit in a church basement and watch the 1953 film Martin Luther. The reverence afforded the subject in the earlier film is largely absent in 1983's Martin Luther. Originally an East German TV miniseries, the 1983 version stars Ulrich Thein as the iconoclastic religious leader. Befitting the agnosticism prevalent in Eastern Bloc countries in the early 1980s, the miniseries is more clinical than spiritual. Several pointed barbs are aimed at the rigidity of 15th century Catholicism, while Luther himself is depicted in warts-and-all fashion. An English-language version of Martin Luther reportedly exists, but is not available at present.