Hitler's Hollywood (2017) Movie Script

Anything missing?
No, I have everything.
Good, then have a think.
I'm thoroughly happy.
It couldn't be better.
Then all's well.
Yes, indeed, gentlemen
We're happy indeed
Because from now on
The world belongs to us
Yes, indeed, gentlemen
Worries are far away
We do what we enjoy
Whoever disturbs us
Before he twigs it
We'll have soft-soaped
Yes, indeed, gentlemen
You can bet on it
Indeed, indeed, indeed!
Germany in the middle of the 19305.
At first sight, a peaceful country.
This is when my mother was born.
They were my father's childhood years.
Hitler's domination had stabilized.
The effects of the economic crisis
were invisible.
The unemployed had gone from the streets.
The regime's enemies had been silenced
or exiled
or arrested, or already murdered.
Jews were the scapegoats.
Outlawed and to be exterminated.
Most Germans who remained
had adjusted themselves with the regime,
if they weren't already
Hitler's supporters.
Cinema offered an additional distraction.
Nazi cinema was fantasy
and a dream factory.
It wanted to be a second Hollywood.
Hitler's Hollywood.
Nazi cinema was theatrical,
It was bigger than life.
It wanted at all costs to be monumental.
Emotion and spectacle;
something for the heart and the eyes.
It was nearly always ambivalent.
She, too, first worked in Germany.
We barely know these films.
But there is no reason to look away.
They are better than their reputation.
Many are worth a second look.
A look that focuses on the details
and disregards the surface message
without losing sight of it.
Many know more and disclose much more
than they would admit.
The best of them are self-reflective
and reveal to us
something beyond themselves.
What are these films about?
What do they reveal? And conceal?
Nazi cinema was show business.
Exaggerated. A spectacle.
It sometimes feels
as if everything was just one big film.
All this is part of our collective memory.
All this lives on in our subconscious.
What does cinema know that we don't?
Let's take a look.
Just three days after seizing power
the new Chancellor,
Adolf Hitler, attended a film premiere
at the UFA Palast in Berlin.
A submarine film shot
during the Weimar Republic
which stylized the German fight
in WI as heroic self-sacrifice
and foreshadowed some of the central
themes of Nazi propaganda:
camaraderie and duty as the cardinal rule,
the soldiers' collective
as a meaningful unit.
Go down to 30 meters.
Silently. No movement in the submarine.
And being prepared to sacrifice yourself
for the fight to go on.
A film steeped
in a mythical yearning for death.
Our lives no longer belong to us.
They're no longer ours, Boehm! Are they?
We have to go on for as long
as there is still breath in us.
On the submarine, again and again,
until the clear Lord sets us free.
Sleep well, fellows.
The regime did not celebrate life,
but for the cult of death
Hitler and his people always found
new and spectacular images.
The propaganda events
of the annual memorial for the dead
at the Feldherrenhalle
and the Knigsplatz in Munich.
At the party celebrations,
witch's Sabbaths of dehumanized masses.
Above all, in the magically illuminated
dark of night,
where they felt most at home.
And also in their films.
Film was the Hitler regime's primary
media of communicating with the masses.
I know...
What did these Germans dream about?
Nazi cinema seemed to be fascinated
by death.
A number of films are drowning
in scenes of yearning for death.
I can't see you.
Constant death sequences.
A Fascist philosopher wrote of
"being towards death".
It was in this glamorous mise-en-scne
of death,
that cinema came closest to the regime.
Every death was a happy death
in Nazi cinema
and often absurdly kitsch.
"I do not want to die in vain.
I would love to perish
on a hill of sacrifice
for the Fatherland.
To bleed the blood of my heart
for the Fatherland.
And heralds of victory descend.
We have won the battle.
Live on high, O Fatherland.
And do not count the dead!
For you, sweet one!
Not one too many has fallen."
What kind of a nation was that
to need poets
to be able to kill and to die?
Still the world does not collapse
It still carries on
Still the world does not collapse
It will be gay again
It will be sky blue again
What did these Germans dream about?
They clearly dreamt of idylls:
Of a safe family life. Of unspoilt nature.
Of a sound home.
Nazi cinema created
an artificially perfect world.
Traditionalism and entertainment.
What is striking about Nazi cinema
is a total lack of irony.
Instead there's a rather forced
That German laughter
that the world was soon to fear.
An era that, in retrospect,
was not very amusing,
appears in films
as a time of constant,
if rather strained joviality.
The key figure of Nazi film politics
was Joseph Goebbels.
The Propaganda Minister,
"patron of German film".
The highest ranking PR man
of the totalitarian state.
He controlled radio, press,
and every area of art.
Cinema was most important to him.
He made it his personal affair.
The Third Reich
was unthinkable without propaganda,
and propaganda without film.
There were no more auteur-filmmakers.
There was one real auteur
in the Nazi state:
it was Joseph Goebbels himself.
He controlled scripts, cast lists,
finished films, auditions.
Goebbels vigorously stamped
his own style on the regime.
To some extent, the whole Third Reich
is Goebbels' film, Goebbels' oeuvre.
Goebbels said,
Propaganda is an art form.
Propaganda has just one objective,
and that objective
is to conquer the masses.
Alluring people into an idea
so in the end they are captivated by it,
and can no longer free themselves
from it."
Political synchronization. This meant that
over 2,000 film professionals
were banned from working
and driven out of the film industry.
Many left Germany.
Marlene Dietrich, who was already
working in Hollywood, left for good.
Fritz Lang also left Germany
despite the new regime's flattery.
Georg Wilhelm Pabst also left.
But he was unlucky.
In 1939, his crossing to America
was already booked,
he visited his mother
with his French passport.
War broke out and Pabst couldn't return.
So he had to film in Germany
and arrange himself with those in power.
The result of this balancing act
was Paracelsus.
We're in a madhouse! Come on.
What is propaganda?
Propaganda is enchantment, not force.
Its objective is to bring society in line
and to mobilize it
through mass mania.
Pabst shows a Medieval world
removed from the German present
yet not, in fact, so dissimilar.
Pabst shows total mobilization,
a mass all moving in trance-like rhythm.
For a moment, they seem to be
completely unified with their leader.
A representative of reason
stands in juxtaposition,
feeling he has landed in a madhouse.
He fights against the mania
as well as ideologues
and against death.
"Propaganda is totalitarian,
regressive and nihilistic.
You remove any remaining substance
from meaningful terms,
and use their shell to advertise
with an enticing appearance.
From beneath the tumult of propaganda
a skull appears."
Since 1933,
the film theorist Siegfried Kracauer
had been living in exile,
as were his friends, Adorno and Benjamin.
"Critical theory".
In exile, Kracauer wrote
his great historical work,
"From Caligari to Hitler",
on cinema in the Weimar Republic.
He also wrote an important
but little-known study
about totalitarian propaganda.
According to Kracauer,
cinema is a seismograph of its time,
an indicator
of the cultural subconscious of an era.
Cinema knows something that we don't know.
It has an underlying meaning
that can be exposed.
If that is true, and we believe it is,
what does Nazi cinema reveal
about the Third Reich and its people?
What is the effect
of their myths and narratives,
their blatant lies and hidden truths
on today's German cinema?
What does German cinema tell,
that we have forgotten?
The first effective,
if very obvious, propaganda film
was Hitlerjunge Quex.
Hans Steinhoff's film tells of Quex,
a working class boy.
It is set at the end
of the Weimar Republic.
The chaos of the images
and the musical references
represent the chaos of a democracy
on the brink of civil war.
Music plays a central role.
People, listen to the call...
Can't you sing?
I'll teach you.
-People, hear...
-People, hear the...
The call for the last battle.
People, listen to the call...
The film works
as a psychographics of fascism:
the lower class's poverty,
the weakness of the father-figures,
the father-son conflict
in which the film
completely takes the son's side.
You see, there are things going on
that you don't understand.
But us proletarians,
we have to watch ourselves.
That's it.
And now, you youngsters have to help us.
You have to stand by us old ones.
Or we won't manage it.
Quex questions the wild and
nonchalant life of the Young Communists
and is attracted by the security
of the other side.
-You don't even have a girlfriend.
-What's the point?
Come on. Don't be like that!
The forest becomes the place
of initiation and music its means.
The idea of youth is sensuously,
erotically enhanced:
adventure and secrecy.
-Where should I go?
-What a question!
To your father, of course,
where you belong.
That is the very question.
Where does the boy belong?
I had very good parents.
But at 15, I ran away.
Thousands have run away.
-Then they were rascals.
-Youngsters are wonderful!
Youngsters have always been a big mystery.
They ran away to trappers, to gypsies.
The great pull of adventure
has always called.
Where does a boy belong?
Pure temptation.
Open it then!
Quex finds recognition
through the Hitler Youth uniform.
You've all gone mad!
There, Heini!
Here's a mirror.
But it proved fatal.
A good sacrificial death.
Our flag is fluttering at us.
Kracauer wrote about the film,
"A clear criticism of earlier,
crass and exaggerated attempts
to please the new rulers.
The communists are portrayed not as
opponents but as comrades led astray.
At the end, the ghostly columns
of SA soldiers marching
seem to emerge from the dead Heini
as if he were resurrected in their ranks."
The politicization of the aesthetic
was followed
by the aestheticization of politics.
Leni Riefenstahl.
Her documentary of the Nuremberg Rally,
commissioned by Hitler himself,
became the prime example
of film propaganda.
Skillful choreography of attention,
initially as a pop concert.
Hitler is the star of a politics
that's become a mise-en-scne.
Shown only from behind, his effect
is seen in the faces of his fans.
And the director clearly
gives this effect an erotic touch.
Faces in ecstasy.
Models of Fascism
as if sculpted by Arno Breker.
Then, as a second step
the film makes clear, half-unconsciously,
that the Nazi political show
is also a sort of religious service
in which the Fhrer preaches
in imploring tones to his congregation.
...which represents all Germany.
And we'd now like you German boys
and German girls...
to take in what we hope
Germany to be one day.
We want to be one nation
and you, my young people,
will now become this nation.
Finally, the third step.
Dissolving the individual
into geometric conformity.
Musical images. Counterpoints, rhythms.
Only one remains.
No regime has ever celebrated itself
with such pomp.
People still feared chaos and anarchy.
This was his reply.
Theatrical spectacle. Ceremony. Ritual.
Grandeur. The mechanics of the masses.
And what Kracauer had described years
before: the ornament of the masses.
A chorus line.
Like the revue films that followed,
Riefenstahl showed order,
visually conveying synchronization.
The nation was brought into line.
Spades down!
"History became theater.
Everything was designed
for the convenience of the camera.
In Triumph of the Will, the image is
no longer simply the record of reality.
Reality has been constructed
to serve the image."
A revolt against the modern
which used the most modern media.
A movement-regime.
The order of a mobilized human block,
a constant synchronized movement.
Future cannon fodder.
"Riefenstahl's films are still effective
among other reasons,
their longings are still felt.
And their content is a romantic ideal
to which many continue to be attached.
A belief in gurus and in the occult.
The exaltation of community
does not preclude
the search for absolute leadership.
Riefenstahl's Olympiad-film
promoted an ideal of the body
which had an impact on daily life.
An entire state
in search of the ideal body.
-I almost forgot.
-Shall we go?
-A new film?
Over 1,000 films were produced
in the Third Reich.
Over 500 were comedies and musicals.
Around 300 melodramas, the rest
were adventure and detective films.
Some surprises too.
There were well-made films,
great aesthetics and beautiful moments,
but there was no innocence.
Hundreds of millions went to the cinema,
a place for escapism,
but as well for indoctrination.
Control reigned here too.
A film show was to be seen in full.
the feature film was the culture film
and the weekly newsreel which
Film Minister Goebbels himself released.
In Rome,
the 14th International Sports Week.
In the polo tournament, Prince Louis
Alexander and his team had a strong win.
The Prince received the Gold Cup
from his fiance, Princess Irina.
UFA was the major German film studio.
Its owners had helped Hitler to power.
Founded in 1917,
the company quickly adapted
and strove to hit the right tone
for the new state of things.
In 1937 UFA was taken over by the state.
One by one, other film companies
were shut down
and in 1942 everything
became one state-run monopoly: UFA-film.
A typical stylistic device:
outrageously daring dissolves.
Along with multiple dreamy cross-fades,
they created an unrealistic atmosphere
in which everything became relative.
Kaleidoscopic images of ambivalence.
Picture puzzles.
The borders are blurred with ambiguity,
they become invisible, not only
the borders between dream and reality...
If the gentleman
would like to come closer.
Not a word of truth in it.
It's all nonsense.
Nazi cinema itself
exhibited its illusionism.
Here the cinema
really became a dream factory.
The most typical genre
was the revue film. Like this one.
"Talkie-operettas" was the name
of these hybrid musical adaptations.
Enjoyable capers of fanciful people.
Opium for a distracted public.
Everything is uniformity and in lockstep.
The revue films exhibit order
and visualize synchronization.
People don't like to be alone at night
Because love in the moonlight...
The Hungarian Marika Rkk,
a foreigner like so many of the stars.
On the one hand and the other
And more
Because people need
A little bit of love
She and her films
were a world of their own.
Robot-like and unbreakable.
A woman of rubber.
In the Third Reich
everyone was pirouetting,
but none on the scale
of the spinning top Marika Rkk.
How many pirouettes did Rkk do
in the Third Reich?
It made the audience dizzy.
You have to be able to play the piano
Whoever plays the piano
Has luck with women
The other revue star, Johannes Heesters,
a Dutchman and heartthrob.
Period dramas were popular.
Great Germans in uniform.
Then the melodramas: love conflicts
about minor gender trouble
and huge sacrifice.
The main protagonists were usually women.
Other genres
shimmered with exotic fantasies
like this lavish film of
3 Karl May novel, Across the Desert.
A giaour!
A giaour!
A German brings order to the Orient.
A German Lawrence of Arabia,
30 years before David Lean.
There were few other genres.
No horror films, no fantasy.
They were not lost on audiences
but too close to reality.
The Third Reich itself was pure horror,
pure fantasy.
And in Germany, cinema and reality
were never a good match.
In a totalitarian state,
propaganda is total as well.
The only sci-fi film in the Third Reich:
A pale imitation of Metropolis,
which exuded a remarkably
morbid atmosphere.
Metropolis star Brigitte Helm
played the lead.
Here, she even speaks.
Don't do anything to hurt my father.
I'm not saying it for him.
And starring Hans Albers.
He could do no wrong.
Fair hair, blue eyes. Born in 1891,
Hans Albers was a hero of the cinema,
but a breezy, non-tragic hero.
One of the few German stars
with a twinkle in his eye
and even some irony.
It was great between us two
But sadly, sadly...
A rogue, an anti-Nazi type
even though Germanic.
He was like the sun god of German cinema.
He was also an action hero in Nazi cinema.
Physical and convincing
and with a fresh cheekiness
that he used to attack the authorities,
he brought an almost American swing
plus a street-feel to the screen.
An adventurer.
And a legend, already in his lifetime.
Hitler's Hollywood was not
an auteur's cinema, but a cinema of stars.
This is where the German dream factory
did work.
Noticeably, many of them came from abroad.
Foreignness brought with it
desirable glamour.
An international and an exotic touch.
In that, it also resembled Hollywood.
Actors in the Third Reich
had some of the best-paying jobs.
Their fees ran to high
five-figure sums for each film.
In addition, from 1938,
on Hitler's personal command,
40 percent of income could be off-set
as advertising expenses.
What was expected in return was clear.
Cinema was part
of the total-art-work of the state.
But it was hard to deal with
the loss of the exiles.
Goebbels looked for a new Garbo.
Swedes were in.
Kristina Sderbaum.
Zarah Leander.
And Ingrid Bergman!
At 23, this was
her only role in the Third Reich.
The Four Companions is one of the most
interesting films of this era.
Images of Berlin,
in the New-Sobriety-style.
Capriccios of the city.
Business interests come first.
We four.
It's about four modern women,
graphic designers who want to set up
a business after their studies.
At first, they fail in a man's world,
then gain success,
then fail again, as they realize
they prefer marriage after all.
Conservatism wins,
but nevertheless changing role models
and other options appear
for a long shining film moment.
If only you knew how good you look
in an apron.
Would you give me a couple of
bread rolls for me to remember you by?
Would you like some sausages too?
If I may.
My pleasure!
Bergman later wanted to sweep
this under the carpet.
She said she declined
a tea invitation from Goebbels.
That was all she would say.
Six years later Bergman played
an anti-fascist in Casablanca.
It was also a sort of atonement.
As I stand here
Is how I am, yes sir!
Zarah Leander, the first great star
of the Nazi films.
She was meant to be the new Garbo.
Deep voice, dark hair,
forced cheerfulness
in melancholic, melodramatic scenarios.
Her songs were of a lost homeland,
unfulfilled longing
and miracles that might still occur.
A femme fatale,
albeit a more conventional one.
There was you, only you.
Imitations of life that work like drugs.
They slowly seep
into the audience's subconscious
and dispense their sweet magic.
Their power, the power of melancholy.
This star was created by Detlef Sierck,
later to be the migr Douglas Sirk,
having had a smooth ride for years
in Nazi cinema.
He went on to shoot his melodramas
in Hollywood.
Puerto Rico, a seductive
and dangerously ambivalent place
between joie de vivre and feverishness.
I'm alone in the night
My soul wakes and listens
A dream made of wishes and mania,
desire and loss.
An agonizing story
full of neurotic characters.
Leander plays an unhappy housewife
trapped in the golden cage
that is her own house.
The wind has told me a song
Plague and capitalism.
...of fortune indescribably beautiful.
It's lovely. I'll never leave.
-Not ever.
-The steamer leaves tomorrow.
-I shan't be on it.
Are you mad?
You and the rest of our cold high society,
what do you know about nature?
You're behaving like a wild one!
Like a wild one indeed!
The desire for wild passion.
The wind has told me a song
Of a heart
That I am missing
The wind...
A rather crazy film about a woman
who always wants what she doesn't have.
You see,
ten years ago, I turned back,
just as the steamer was leaving.
Back then, I thought the island
was paradise.
Then, later, I thought it was hell.
-And now?
I don't regret it.
Regrets are always foolish.
La Habanera is about yearning
for the tyrant, and hating him.
She wants to get rid of him
but as soon as he has gone,
she wants him back.
Sierck's film language
never shies away from the obvious.
It was filmed on Tenerife
in the midst of the Spanish Civil War.
The most elegant wild character
of German cinema was Ferdinand Marian.
In all his roles,
there is a longing for death.
Charismatic, suffering,
torn, demonic,
seductive, sensitive.
The lead in the anti-Semitic film,
Jew Sties
would later be the downfall of this most
modern, naturalistic German actor.
He never got over it.
-What sort of a person are you?
-I have a good heart.
It just needs to be uncovered.
Panic hovers over us, gentlemen.
Do you know what that means?
Panic amongst two million people?
Panic and reason of state,
press censorship and secret police.
A lady vanishes, in the middle of Paris.
The paper has been banned.
The police have closed the printers.
The daughter has a rude awakening
that becomes a nightmare.
Her search for her mother is in vain.
She hits a wall of silence.
-Madeleine Lawrence?
No, Madame, she's not here.
A film of uncertainty
in the otherwise overly certain
German productions.
A great film noir, made in Nazi Germany.
It is your mother's fatherland
that renders you this service.
In the end she gives in,
she has no choice.
That is the message
of this film of devotion.
It was Veit Harlan's breakthrough piece.
Harlan was an auteur,
a filmmaker whose films
had their specific handwriting.
But he was also a National Socialist,
whether from opportunism or conviction
is irrelevant.
His commitment to the Nazis
is integral to his work.
It cannot be narrowed down
to just a part of it.
No other filmmaker has made such
perfidious films at such a high level.
The daughter whose world is turned
upside down in Verwehte Spuren
was played by the Swede,
Kristina Sderbaum.
Already in this film Veit Harlan
gave his radiant new star a big scene,
a timeless film moment
where cinema celebrates itself
and its tempting power
as a factory of dreams.
A year later, Harlan divorced
and married Sderbaum.
In all further films he made
during The Third Reich
she played the lead.
Sderbaum had the perfect mix of
innocence, purity and tearful devotion
to fit the German ideal of the time.
She was the perfect embodiment
of the Nazi perversion:
a Nordic blond who in her husband's films
was always pre-destined to self-sacrifice.
Sderbaum became known
as the "Reich's floating corpse"
because she exposed
the necrophilia core of the Nazis.
Male fantasies.
At the end of the 1930s,
Hitler's dominance had stabilized.
It seemed safe. To both friend and foe.
He was the world's amazement.
Heinz Rhmann,
the "common man" of NS cinema.
Seemingly invincible, accommodating
to the point of opportunism,
but always visible.
Rhmann conveyed Nazi values with humor.
A cheering-up-machinery
which created the illusion
that things weren't so bad.
His characters were unique.
Infantile characters,
adults like children and youngsters.
This infantilism,
the longing for being a child again,
successful regression,
was a feature of many Nazi films.
-Did you fly here?
-It was no distance.
-Where is your airplane?
-I parked it on the market square.
"The effectiveness of propaganda
demonstrates one of the chief
characteristics of modern masses.
They don't believe in anything visible,
not in the reality
of their own experiences.
They do not trust their eyes and ears,
but only their imaginations.
What convinces masses are not facts,
not even invented facts,
but only the consistency of the illusion."
In private, Hitler watched
Mickey Mouse, Frank Capra, musicals.
This led to a series of
attempts to Americanize German cinema
and to copy Hollywood.
The closest that German comedy ever came
to Hollywood was with Glckskinder.
Goebbels' remake of
It Happened One Night is pure escapism.
A screwball comedy with slapstick,
punch line ping pong
and sparkling dialogue.
And if I found a fortune
I'd just gobble it up
I wouldn't need to go to work
The final major success
with Lilian Harvey and Willy Fritsch,
the dream team of the early talkies
in the Weimar Republic.
I wish I wasn't so
But it's no good wishing I am as I am
Harvey soon went into exile
and fled from the Gestapo to Hollywood.
Swing was forbidden,
Marlene Dietrich in exile.
Nevertheless, there were films like this
with jolly American music
and with references to Marlene Dietrich.
A revue as in the distant 19205.
Wir machen Musik
delightfully combines comedy and revue.
This is an attempt at screwball comedies,
at something different.
Kutner melancholy
with a hint of Lubitsch.
To stick with our popular comparisons,
the penny is slow to drop.
Today I see the world in a rosy light
Everyone wears a smile on their face
Everything looks like under a charm...
A civilian film.
No militaristic, upright, uptight men.
I have you, and you have me
What more do we want?
There are henpecked men
and self-assured women
who are equal in the gender trouble.
I am young and you are young
And the world is our oyster
Everything is easier to achieve
If we stick together
From today my life has been restored
Along with the apartment
You have refreshed my heart
I have you and you have me
What more do we need?
You can admit it.
No need to be embarrassed.
A charming little woman
who is afraid and is ashamed to be afraid
who admits that she's ashamed she's afraid
is the most perfect woman
a man could wish for.
I'm sorry to disappoint you.
I'm generally very daring,
brave and strong.
Why do you want to be like that?
You see, that suits you far better.
No, leave it here.
Perhaps this heroic woman
will scream again and then...
-Then I'll show you how brave I am.
-Show me.
What you look like when you're brave.
Oh, God, that's awful. It's all wrong. No.
-Don't I look brave?
-Yes, but it doesn't suit you.
Far too many wrinkles.
All your charm has gone.
No, a woman's face must be soft.
Tender and feminine.
-I like you much better weak.
-But I don't like myself like that.
Because you can't see
how attractive you are then.
-Can we change the subject?
-Of course. To the weather or so?
Gustaf Grdgens, a genius,
a wonderful actor of stage and screen.
Film director and scintillating theater
boss in Berlin.
In the Third Reich,
he was Gring's favorite,
not Goebbels, who hated him
but used his charisma.
A Janus-headed artist
between collaboration and resistance.
Klaus Mann's roman clef
seized on Gustaf Grndgens
starring role, Mephisto.
-You're in danger.
Don't you love danger too?
Grndgens definitely did.
Contemporaries described him
as having the guts
to overstep boundaries in both directions.
When people go to bed
In a pointed nightcap
And entreat their king to protect them
We slip festively dressed
Behind the taverns
Dawdling along under the street lamps
The night isn't only for sleeping
The night is when it all happens
A one-man show, totally reliant
on Grndgens' charismatic performance.
The lyrics are of note.
When morning finally dawns
Behind dark panes
And the men without a bride
Stay side by side
They hatch bombs out of conversations
Held in whispers
Rebellion, rebellion in the catacombs
"Rebellion" was clear.
Bombs out of conversations"
was ambiguous.
Goebbels permitted the film
but the record
and the score of the song were banned.
-Good heavens!
-Look at Debureau.
Are you crazy?
Watch out!
Don't use your sword, but your verses.
They're more effective.
In the film, he throws down
a rain of flyers
as Hans and Sophie Scholl would do later
in Munich, and be beheaded for it.
Resistance and danger.
How do you assess such a film?
It shows an artist
challenging the authorities
and propagandizes
the artist's self-assertiveness.
Scenes of a successful revolution
in Nazi cinema.
Was that resistance?
Or did they do it
to keep people in a good mood?
The artists, like court jesters,
could more easily speak the truth,
but at court.
The night isn't only for sleeping
The night is when it all happens
World War II begins
With the outbreak of war
the cinema grew in propaganda
as well as in entertainment.
There were many films of legitimization.
Films which legitimized
some over-stepping of limits:
war, genocide,
the killing of the disabled.
"Big men", that meant major German men,
were now in demand.
Veit Harlan set the tone in Der Herrscher
a reworking of the Gerhart Hauptmann play
in accordance with
the Ministry of Propaganda
obviously aimed at the Krupp family.
The capitalist as leader.
Our purpose is to work for the nation.
That is the ruling principle of my work.
Everything else is secondary.
Costume and sets
immersed the viewers in the joy
of going back in time emotionally
releasing them from the present.
A strategy of forgetting
that no one could fully escape.
It was all far-removed
from historical reality anyway.
All these films, these "big German men",
were bigger than life.
Whoever was born to be leader,
needs no other teacher
than his own genius.
My sons, what is the answer?
Are great minds born or formed?
Formed, Your Highness.
Born, Your Highness,
not formed.
Let's discuss that.
Genius, is not born of its mother
but of the entire nation.
But the state, through its schooling,
first points the way
to perfection.
No. Genius, abandoning imperfect schools,
can, with its own resources,
find its way to perfection.
Aestheticized genius,
animal, superhuman, barbarian.
Genius can do no wrong,
and it legitimizes the amoral.
Another form of legitimization
was offered by the film lch klage an
directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner.
He perfidiously combines the theme
of killing
as wished for by a terminally ill person
with the murder of a mentally ill person
and other severely disabled people,
including many children.
I'm so calm now.
So happy.
The happy death is euthanasia.
I loved my wife very much.
Ultimately, it is all a courtroom drama.
Good-bye, Franziska.
At school they said we don't have
a proper father. What do you think?
It's rubbish.
Cinema in the war was increasingly aimed
at a female audience.
It dealt with women's fantasies
and nightmares.
Helmut Kutner's
Auf Wiedersehen, Franziska!
Was the first of many 'holiday films'
in which a man moves out
to learn fear
and to teach fear to the world.
And a loyal and steadfast woman
waits for him at home.
Franziska, I can't leave you again.
You did for years looking for adventure.
Now when it means something, you can't?
NEWS FROM THE FRONFROM THE PROPAGANDA UNIJune 1940, German Occupation of France.
France was crushed in 39 days.
Germany knows that this victory was won
thanks to the leadership of brave soldiers
and excellent organization.
A view of the Eiffel Tower.
Left of the Fhrer is Professor Speer.
A few days ago,
Chamberlain declared to an American
that England and her allies feel
they are custodians of civilization
fighting medieval barbarianism.
So these are the custodians of culture.
And these are the barbarians.
Where rats appear, they bring destruction.
Barbarianism was legitimized in film.
They are shrewd, cowardly and cruel
and usually appear in large swarms.
In the animal world, they represent
insidious and subterranean destruction.
No different to the Jews amongst people.
There is a direct line from racism
to anti-Semitism and murder.
Before the Wannsee conference,
Goebbels produced an anti-Semitic
propaganda film.
Der ewige Jude was a commissioned work,
directed by Fritz Hippler,
Goebbels' adjutant.
Der ewige Jude can be seen
as a sort of official announcement
of Hitler's decision for the Holocaust.
Jewish spirit and blood will no longer
contaminate the German people.
Under the leadership of Adolf Hitler,
Germany has raised the banner
against the eternal Jew.
Europe cannot be at peace
until the Jewish question is settled.
If the international financial Jewry
were to succeed
in driving nations into another world war,
it will result not in a Jewish victory,
but in the annihilation
of the Jewish race in Europe.
But this anti-Semitic incitement
to murder took other forms as well,
such as burlesque comedies.
Are you all bridled up?
-What do you mean? Is this a circus?
-We'll see when the soiree begins.
From the front you look like
Catherine the Great.
And from behind as fit as Napoleon.
Don't mention Napoleon.
He was anti-Semitic.
That's why he also went broke in Moscow.
Here in Frankfurt we have our head office.
In Gibraltar, there's England.
And what is there?
Want to set up a branch there too?
The reverse, my dear man.
We are the branches of Jerusalem.
And historical dramas.
Such films prove that
an ugly secret understanding existed
between Nazi anti-Semitism
and the rest of the Germans
who both knew and wanted to suppress it.
The most disgraceful German film
was by Veit Harlan.
He denied responsibility for it.
Jew Sss in 1940 prepared the way
for the "final solution"
allegedly kept secret from the German
people by those responsible.
The film shows two types of Jews.
The sort in the ghetto,
the stereotype, dirty and ridiculous.
Eight different roles were played
by the same actor, Werner Krau.
And the assimilated Jew.
Attractive, powerful,
superficially fitting in,
urbane, ambivalent, dangerous.
People appear not to know how to deal
with a great man.
-But you do know?
-Well, yes.
I mean, I don't know
but I should be glad if I could say
I am a loyal servant to my master.
Again and again boundaries are crossed.
Jews, dressed in rags, like refugees,
make their way through city gates.
Sss himself, blurs boundaries.
He takes no notice of any limits
of territory, status, cities or gender.
He penetrates everything.
He wants something that is not his,
and if he doesn't get it
he takes it with force.
Stop that!
Would the lady like to dance now?
No, not anymore.
It's outside. Start!
Then remove it.
Let me have it back.
The rape as sadomasochistic fantasy.
To make his victim submit,
Sties has her man tortured.
The death of the victim
provokes an uprising.
The evil one's mask is torn away.
There he sits, the unholy Jew.
In months of trial,
all he has done is lie.
Let me live. I want to live.
I want to live!
The film was shown
in more than 15 European countries.
It was shown to all SS teams,
on Himmler's orders
as early as the winter of 1940,
so before the attack on the USSR.
It was a call for murder
with the means of cinema.
Hundreds of love letters
were sent to Marian by female fans.
They complained about the "poor Jew Sss".
Wunschkonzert was one of the most
successful films.
An afternoon's entertainment
which starts at the 1936 Olympics,
the honeymoon
for the regime and the people.
Nice memories.
Excuse me, miss. I have a spare ticket.
Perhaps I can be of service to you.
Here come the Germans.
Pure propaganda.
A love story and a war,
feature film and newsreel images
merge seamlessly into one another.
-What's happened?
-I have to leave.
You don't need to worry about hurting
me, but...
Inge, you have to trust me.
You are to be my wife.
-Is that really still so?
Classical German music
and soldiers' songs,
an uncut scene.
This film was so successful
because it related to people's experience.
Plus the Nazi's biggest propaganda
the weekly Wartime Radio Request Program
with its singing movie stars
Heinz Rhmann and Marika Rkk,
was included in the story line.
That can't shock a seaman
Fear not, Rosemarie
We won't let our life sour
Fear not, Rosemarie
And when the whole world shakes
And the world becomes unbalanced
That can't shock a seaman
Fear not, Rosemarie
One night in May
So much can happen
You can lose your heart
And it goes one, two, three
One night in May
You can dream so sweetly
Sitting under trees
All sorts of things can happen
The most infamous and most successful
coup of filmic Nazi war propaganda.
All branches of the armed forces
appear at the end of this film.
Give me your hand
Your white hand
Farewell, my darling
Farewell, farewell
For we sail
For we sail
For we sail to take on England
Ilse Werner, the most modern woman
in Nazi cinema.
The daughter of a Dutchman.
The only Nazi actress who could really
have made it to Hollywood.
In 1938 her father turned down
a Hollywood contract for her with MGM.
She had charisma.
Sporty, slim, not a typical German girl,
she could have also been in French films.
Werner hid her toughness well,
like some suppressed contradictions.
With her Dutch passport, she had to
report to the police every week.
That's pretty. Where's it from?
It's from... the south sea.
Radiant and vibrant, she was more
than a beautiful woman.
She was a foretaste of a time
that had to come, and did.
It might upset him.
Das groe Spiel is a quantum leap
in the history of football films.
It mixes feature film scenes
with historical footage
from the German Championship Final
that Rapid Vienna won against Schalke 04.
It is a conventional narrative
about a successful brotherhood
and the community-building power of sport.
We see film actors with the general
public and famous spectators.
It's incredible this match took place
because it was on a very special day.
It was Sunday, 22 June, 1941.
That morning the army had gone to war
with the Soviet Union.
"Leaders have a concern that supersedes
all utilitarian considerations.
They want their predictions to be true."
After months of silence, the Fhrer
takes the only remaining
possible course of action, saying,
"I have decided to place
the fate and future of the German Reich
back in our soldiers' hands.
Germany is in a terrible crisis.
We live in a period
which will determine everything
and change the face of Europe."
The army attacks.
Veit Harlan was a very capable director.
He could even stage huge masses.
Which Germany do you mean?
The outdated one, resting
on the splendor of the Holy Roman Empire?
This utopia should collapse.
A German Empire must come
and Prussia lead it.
Only Prussia has the material
and moral right to hold this position,
not Hapsburg.
Hapsburg has proved itself incapable
of such leadership
because it is prepared to share
its power with foreign nations
who cannot have the interest
of the Germans at heart.
"The similarity between Otto Gebhr's
screen Friedrich
and the popular image of Hitler
cannot be ignored.
A genius.
Of course his plans and deeds
are based on intuition."
You must be wondering
why I have called on you unannounced.
I don't wonder about anything with you.
The film Ohm Krger
attacked the archenemy, Britain.
The film depicts a nation
brought down by conspiracy, propaganda
and concentration camps.
Ferdinand Marian plays Cecil Rhodes.
And the film shows the reality...
at the Eastern Front.
What's to become of us?
Don't worry about that, ladies.
You'll go to a concentration camp.
-And now?
-Now we should get some sleep.
-And where?
-Somewhere nice.
A heart like mine
Doesn't like to be alone
Love and war and songs again.
A morale-boosting film
which transforms an air raid
into a romantic event.
All clear!
Where to put one's hands?
Love strikes like a bomb attack.
War with the Soviets.
That's why the captain had to leave
Women were supposed to stay behind
while the men fought.
I know another miracle will happen
And a thousand fairy tales will come true
I know no love can pass so quickly
When it is so immense and wonderful
In the beautiful time of roses
I found a darling
That wasn't all.
In the midst of war, realism returned.
It was not necessarily neorealism.
It was a new,
romantically-charged realism.
Everyday poetry.
Berlin has 4,220,000 inhabitants...
I want to show you Berlin.
In these everyday stories of
busy people during wartime,
another Germany emerges,
an observant look at the margins
and at day-to-day life
that was less strictly controlled.
Another theme returned.
It had been buried by the glorification
of the homeland, blood and soil.
The city.
The city meant contradiction.
And working women.
The Wannsee.
One year before, the Wannsee Conference
was held on the opposite shore.
-You're from Berlin too!
-Charlottenburg Sports Club.
-No, the trunks are from the old lady.
-Old lady?
Oh, your old lady? You leave your mother
alone on the first day of your holiday!
-First day, I wish!
It's my only day of holiday.
I like you much better than earlier.
And what about your mother?
I have no mother. I have no one at all.
-Not even relatives.
-Nor do I.
Bodies were also more visible,
but they look so inhibited,
so strangely wooden and unsure.
You can feel shyness,
and see that they don't know
what to do with their bodies.
-I just had to get away from it all.
-Don't you believe me?
-Of course!
-That's exactly what Mum said today.
-Your mum?
-No, our matron. That's what we call her.
-Then she had a great idea.
What are you doing this afternoon?
-I have to ask Inge.
-The loudspeaker?
You weren't listening.
If there was such a thing as a feminist
film in Nazi Germany, then it was this.
It was shot in 1942,
as the 6th army was bleeding
to death in Stalingrad,
and shortly before
Hans and Sophie Scholl were beheaded.
A country woman in Berlin wanting to be
a professional photographer.
She's still unsure,
but is soon successful.
The film shows that women
gaze at things differently.
That was a delightful picture, Madam.
So natural.
It will be a lovely series
alongside the fashion show.
An event of the day, something unique,
like you.
It's current.
-But it's usually done by men.
-And usually the event too.
We see a woman who doesn't go after men,
who doesn't want a family, children.
Who is friends with a man
without being in a love relationship.
As far as was at all possible
in Nazi cinema,
this film defends privacy,
indeed the hedonism of happiness
in the here and now.
The body keeps working while we sleep.
The heart beats, the lungs breathe.
But we're not aware of it.
At most we dream.
The city sleeps that way too and dreams.
Within it, its blood circulates
and life goes on.
This is also an homage to the city.
And a film that shows workers' life.
She asks about happiness
but that can mean much more than
obeying tradition.
And are you...
Are you happy, Rolf?
Happy, Renate?
Who is happy?
In 80 minutes there's barely a uniform
to be seen in Grostadtmelodie.
Then everything changes.
In terms of the principle of
the people's right to self-determination,
I have to say we wild ones
are the better democrats.
We see representative images, propaganda.
How is such a film to be assessed?
The terror of war and the first bombings
leave no trace.
The lies of a regime
and its accomplices, the population,
who don't want to give up the hope
of a happy ending.
An alternative reading:
Grostadtmelodie shows civilian life,
celebrates personal happiness
and holds up a mirror to reality.
It shows what everyone has lost.
The city, which appeared on the screen
at the premiere, and the life within it
had long gone since then.
Der verzauberte Tag directed by
Peter Pewas is more private.
But here too the conventional dreams
of a shop assistant
are realistically clashed.
The film also tries to counter the image
of propaganda with its own magic.
No film can be a deserter
but Helmut Kutners Unter den Brcken
keeps a distance.
On the bridge, too le doo
The girls walk up and down
Even though Goebbels prized its craft,
the film was banned.
It was too intimate, too civilian
and human,
this story of a love-triangle.
Untouched by war,
two friends in love with the same woman.
Your friend says to come up.
We're nearly there.
What's the smell?
-You can't just puff at me.
-I'm sorry, but...
I had to puff.
Your hair.
I won't do it again.
Helmut Kutner, born in 1908,
is one of the best German directors
of all time.
He almost became a German neorealist.
His career began, rather like
Rosselini's and Antonioni's, in Italy,
under Fascism.
Kutner was no dissident
but an Anti-Fascist
in his soul and his attitude.
He cleverly found thematic niches
in The Third Reich
to make almost independent films
under the radar of the regime.
Romanze in Moll, an homage to Renoir,
was about a love triangle.
This time it ends in tragedy.
Stalingrad, 80,000 men were captured.
Hundreds of thousands were killed.
The German war of annihilation
had long since become a war
of self-annihilation.
Do you want the total war?
Do you want it, if necessary,
to be more total and more radical
than anything
that we can even yet imagine?
The dreamboat of Nazi-Cinema,
the first talkie- "Titanic "
sunk in German cinema.
No iceberg, but evil capitalists.
Jews and the British were to blame.
...a surprise, which will
shoot up our shares beyond expectation.
Gentlemen, that's all I wish to say
for now.
But please trust in me.
As we all trust in our Titanic.
The film celebrates the glamour
of the Empire,
which it purports to despise,
with palpable envy.
The sole German is stuffy and humorless.
A Cassandra who suspects what will happen
but can't assert his authority.
Who is in charge,
President Ismir or the captain?
The captain naturally does
what the president demands.
And why does he demand such nonsense?
The desire for downfall dominates.
For disaster.
It doesn't celebrate technocracy
or progress, which are part of Fascism.
There are no negative female characters
but many negative male characters.
This film was made for women.
But it could also be seen as follows:
women instinctively sense that men
with their desire for profit and power
cause a ship's, or a state's, downfall.
Titanic was an allegorical portrayal
of what was happening in Germany.
After Stalingrad,
this was too much for Goebbels.
Titanic was banned in Germany.
Germans could only see it
in occupied countries
and talked about it.
The blazing red sky of Hamburg
was courtesy of Agfacolor.
But during the filming,
Hamburg went up in flames
and this film was completed in Prague.
Groe Freiheit Nr. 7 was perhaps
the best film of The Third Reich,
but it wasn't a Nazi film.
La Paloma, oh
It will be over some day
The sea will take us one day
And not return any of us
It will be over some day."
If anyone understood this sentence,
it was Goebbels.
In splendid Agfacolor, the film
counters all the Nazis held dear.
In the world of the underdog,
of drinkers, of a shady life,
Kutner once again
deals with a love triangle.
He shows what lies behind
the Nazis' exaggerated cheerfulness:
Hans Albers plays a man
demoralized by a dishonest business.
A drunkard who sees a chance
for a different life.
The high point is a dream sequence
that turns into a nightmare.
On the Reeperbahn, at half past midnight
Whoever has never, in the snug night...
Come back to the sea.
Come back to the sea.
Stay with me.
His beloved, only dimly seen,
soon slips away from him.
How manliness is shaken
is blatant in this melodrama of men.
They are vulnerable, tearful
sentimental, full of yearning, broken.
In an industrial plant in Berlin.
Groe Freiheit Nr. 7
points the way for an apocalyptic mood.
German cinema increasingly escaped
into the unreal and became pure fantasy.
Albers played Mnchhausen,
the "baron of lies".
Propaganda was becoming ineffective.
The Woman of My Dreams was even more
fantastical than Mnchhausen.
A film on acid.
The film itself was like a drug.
The longing for an alternative world
must have been tremendous in 1944.
The strained excess is not only
a wonderful spectacle
and a final high point of Nazi cinema's
mesmerizing character:
there is also something hysterical
about it.
A film for the apocalyptic final days.
This is also a part of the history
of the German mentality.
A masked ball.
A place of excess, but treacherous too.
Everyone wears a mask in this film,
even if they are not seen.
The film's Germany, like much here,
is once again a place of illusions.
An ostensibly non-political story.
Albrecht is an adventurer,
an anti-intellectual world conqueror
who returns after many years,
for a final conquest.
Torn between two women,
he marries the demure and cool Octavia,
from a good family.
In deep and muted colors,
Harlan paints the decadence
of the bourgeois world,
the old and faded upper class.
He shows the foreshadowing
of the downfall.
"The sun sinks.
Not much longer will you thirst,
Burned heart!
A promise is in the air,
blowing to me from unknown mouths.
The great coolness comes...
Yes. Beautiful.
The opposite to all this seems to be
embodied in the enigmatic Aels.
Sport, nature, an awakening,
courage and wildness.
Like a siren, she emerges,
the first time we meet her.
She represents the freshness of nature,
but she also represents the foreign.
That was wonderful, Aels.
Oh, there's no skill in hitting it
at this distance.
But from a galloping horse
is something else.
She fascinates the man,
but she's terminally ill.
Her terminal illness is covered
through a show of strength
through sport and naturalness.
Do you see the rainbow?
The bridge to the other side.
Who knows
how soon we will have to walk it.
Morbidness and intense yearning
had always run through the films
of The Third Reich.
The regime had long since promised
their fulfillment.
Now there was nothing to hope for.
All that was left was longing.
Without an aim.
Do you think so?
What should I think about then?
About you?
If I were to die now...
that would be the sweetest death.
In this German Vertigo
which revolves around a man's fantasies,
and in which the women are undead
or vampires,
Harlan tells of temptation,
and of the victory of tradition
of the bourgeois,
of apparent decadence.
It is his melodrama:
In order to love a healthy woman,
a sick one must first die.
Harlan provided both the presentiment
and the rear up against the end.
His two final films are rehearsals
for the downfall.
"Gentlemen, in 100 years
a wonderful color film will be shown
about the terrible times
we are going through.
Don't you want to play a role
in this film?
Stand firm so that in a hundred years
the viewers do not boo and hiss
when you appear on screen."
In the summertime many a one
Has lost their heart
The circle closes.
From Morgenrte to Kolberg.
The most expensive film
ever made in Germany.
With 6,000 horses, 10,000 costumes
and over 100,000 drafted
Wehrmacht soldiers.
A war melodrama.
No love is more sacred
than the love of your fatherland.
No joy is sweeter than the joy of freedom.
But you know what is in store
if we don't win this battle with hon our.
So whatever sacrifice is required
make your priority the sacred values
for which we are fighting and must win
if we are to remain Prussians and Germans.
With foreboding, but undaunted
Dawn is breaking
And the sun, cold and bloody
Lights up our bloody path
In the next few hours
The world's fate will be decided
Others are shaking now
And the certain die is cast
No longer a morale-boosting film
but a twilight of the gods,
making sense of the senseless.
The downfall is no longer denied,
but made heroic.
The atmosphere is one of resignation
and defiant heroism.
A ghost of a film. An exorcism.
A German Gone With The Wind
almost out of puff.
A film as a means to promote the idea
of a burnt land and the Volkssturm.
From the ashes and rubble a new nation
will rise, like a phoenix.
A new Reich.
One last time, Harlan celebrates
the ornament of the masses
and fantasies of absolute power.
And then cinema returned to reality.
They're shooting at our town!
Come on!
And then the screen is void of people.
But where are those people?
Which of these films have they seen?
Maybe we understand more
about the Third Reich
if we imagine that in some way
it was all a single film
and a big dream.
Maybe the Germans didn't want to leave
the cinema until the very end,
didn't want to return to reality.
How much of this cinema lives on
in today's films and films post-1945?
Does German cinema still dream
the old dreams, in a different form?
There was never a zero hour
for German cinema.
What does cinema know that we don't?
I take Prussia and Kolberg to my heart.
There only remain a few jewels
in our crown.
Kolberg is one of them.
Hans Albers made 19 more films after 1945.
He considered Groe Freiheit Nr. 7
his best film.
He died in 1960.
Ilse Werner was temporarily banned
from working due to
her role in Wunschkonzert.
Never able to repeat her former success,
she made just ten films
in the Federal Republic
but worked as a dubbing artist
and TV presenter.
She died in poverty in 2005.
Ferdinand Marian
was issued a life-long work ban
due to his role in Jew Sss.
Shortly before he was likely
to be pardoned, he died in a car crash.
Suicide was suspected.
Veit Harlan was exonerated post-1945.
He went on to make 11 films
in the German Republic.
In his many trials, he claimed
the Nazis had taken his non-political work
and used it for their aims.
He claimed he was forced to make
Jew Sss.
He never asked for forgiveness.
He died in 1964.
Kristina Sderbaum was allowed
to work directly after the war
and appeared in her husband's films.
One other film role followed,
in Hans-Jrgen Syberberg's Karl May.
She died in 2001.
Helmut Kutner
was a major filmmaker post-1945.
He went on to make 27 feature films
and 24 TV films. He died in 1980.
The screenwriter of Mnchhausen
was the popular author, Erich Kstner.
As a banned author he had to use
a pseudonym, Berthold Brger,
absent from the opening credits.
Kstner was given special permission
to write the screenplay.
The screenplay included some
anti-totalitarian barbs,
but Kstner couldn't go too far
for fear of endangering himself.