Two new films out this month give the full Hollywood treatment to two very different military and political heroes.

By Nigel Jones

It is a sad reflection of the warped moral mirror of our time that it is Guevara, the squalid killer and totalitarian tyrant, who remains, more than 40 years after his death, the iconic emblem of ignorant idealists the world over. His hirsute features still stare swooningly from thousands of walls and millions of T-shirts.

Meanwhile, Stauffenberg, the war-crippled soldier who sacrificed his life trying to free his people from a cruel dictator, is practically unknown to the mass of filmgoers outside his own country.

But a glance beneath the surface glamour of Alberto Korda's 1960 beret-and-curls photograph of Guevara is enough to expose the less-than-romantic reality. At the time he posed for Korda's camera, Guevara was jailer and executioner-in-chief of Castro's dictatorship. As boss of the notorious La Cabaña prison in Havana, he supervised the detention, interrogation, summary trials and execution of hundreds of "class enemies".

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