Is it possible to watch a film completely independent of the circumstances
in which it was made. Judge it strictly on the merits of the film itself.
Under the Fascist regime of Hitler the German film industry produced some
1,000 films - 500 of them musicals - others historical epics, melodramas,
mysteries, comedies and of course propaganda and vile anti-Semitic films
. In the 1920's Germany had a large film industry and even with the wise
exodus of some of their great talent to America - Sirk, Wilder, Lang and
others - this continued under Hitler though obviously with much less independence.
The Nazi government took over the film industry and rolled all the companies
into one and scripts had to be cleared and then the final film as well.
Director: Rudiger Suchsland
But other than of course trying to paint a positive image of Germany, Goebbels
also wanted to entertain the masses. Hitler liked watching Hollywood films
- Mickey Mouse, Capra - and wanted to emulate Hollywood as much as possible
(what is it with dictators liking American films) - so many of the films
were opulent and excessive. The musicals nearly drip with the influence of
Busby Berkeley. They had big stars from all over Europe (Ingrid Bergman made
one film for the Reich) who were made to look glamourous.
So there is a part of me that would love to see these films - a version of
It Happened One Night - sure - a fantastical version of Baron Munchausen
- oh ya - a huge epic film of the French-Prussian War - bring it on - the
sinking of the Titanic by greedy capitalists - by all means. But they were
made by Nazi's or at least approved by Nazi's and there is the rub. This
film goes into all of that with loads of clips of films. I don't know if
most of these still exist in a complete version. For years they have been
ignored because of their heritage but maybe it is time to bring them out