[PDF / Epub] ★ Nazi Cinema Author Erwin Leiser – Tshirtforums.co.uk

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  1. says:

    Adolf Hitler in 1942 Balkan people who find themselves the owners of a running gold supply without doing a stroke of work, just because there happens to be an oil deposit under their landthat s completely against the natural order Donald Trump in 2016 To the victor belong the spoils in Iraq so we should have kept the oil But, OK, maybe you ll have another chance More than a few eerie parallels between the statements and policies of Hitler and the bellicose jingoism of Trump struck me throughout the reading of this excellent overview of the use of propaganda in the Nazi cinema of the 1930s and 1940s Of course, it helps to know some distant and recent history to recognize them something a lot of people demonstrate clearly they haven t the knowledge or means to do.In any case, such topical readings are by way of bonus.When Erwin Leiser penned this pithy, clear as a bell, and spot on analysis of Nazi film and the methods its creators used to condition the hearts and minds of the masses in the early 1970s, he had already made two excellent documentaries about the Third Reich, and his first one, Mein Kampf in 1960 was one of the first and still one of the best of its kind.If that film was an urtext for the film documentary, this book is the same for its subject Leiser eschews over intellectualized and obfuscatory academic jargon in favor of clear language, impeccable argument, and precise and ample examples For a book on so heavy a subject, the reading experience is a pleasure.The most obvious approach to tackling Nazi propaganda in film would be to analyze the overtly political Nazi films, such as the pseudo documentaries, Triumph of the Will 1935 and The Eternal Jew 1940 And while Leiser does touch on these films, he is concerned with the subtler and pernicious effects of the buried messages layered into the Nazi commercial popular cinema films that most film students haven t seen, but which certainly were by the target German masses during the consolidation of Nazi power and the subsequent war.Leiser identifies motifs in the German cinema utilized to these ends the notion of self sacrifice of self to the good of the nation and its future it is not only your right, but your duty to die for your country , the unerring omnipotence and rightness of the Fuehrer, the idea of discipline and blind obedience as virtues, the inhumanity of the identified enemies of the Reich and the necessity of their purging, the birthright of Germans to the spoils and lands of others, the superiority of natural law favoring the weak over the strong, and the essential morality and decency of Germans in their necessary brutality For all these themes, Leiser pinpoints which films used them and how they were used.It s an excellent survey, but is also an interesting history of Nazi Germany itself, and will have relevance to readers interested in the War and the Holocaust And, given the enormity of its subject, it s remarkably short and a fast read It takes mastery of a subject to be able to write about it as Leiser has, in a compressed and precise way.Interestingly, Hitler and his propaganda and arts minister, Josef Goebbels, initially disagreed on the approach to film propaganda Hitler favored a overt, heavy handed preachy approach while Goebbels maintained otherwise Goebbels understood the irrational and visual nature of cinema, and the relative ineffectiveness of the didactic As Leiser states Goebbels knew that in excessive doses overt political propaganda would be ineffectual, and so he let his poison work insidiously People were to be manipulated without being shown the direction in which they were being led Goebbels was, in fact, a great admirer of the Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, and admired the emotion engendered by the visceral propaganda in his famous 1925 film, The Battleship Potemkin. Throughout the book, Leiser demonstrates the Nazi tendency to replicate the flaws, in both art and politics, of their supposed Communist enemies Leiser points out this hypocrisy in numerous Nazi films.In the famous early Nazi movie, Hitlerjunge Quex 1933 , for instance, the flirtation with the enemyis apparent and reveals conscious echoes to leftwing film classics Continuing One study points out that the characterization of Communists in the film is a Nazi self portrait And The extent to which the caricature of Communists reflects the Nazi mentality can be seen in the way the Communists in the film behave among themselves 1933 was a watershed year for the Nazi film, bringing Quex and Morgenrot Dawn , the latter about the self sacrifice of U boat submarine crew, and something of a template for the themes trumpeted in Nazi films to follow, particularly the duty to die happily for one s country Hitler attended the film s premiere and apparently was elated by what he saw.Goebbels preference for layering the Nazi agenda into conventional films reflected an overarching notion of all art merging with the spiritual goals of the nation s people As Leiser states, the propaganda minister s ideal was a profound marriage of the spiritual nature of the heroic concept of life with the eternal laws of art The seemless notion of message hidden within entertainment, rather than being overt, Leiser writes explains why there are only a few feature films whose main objective is to glorify the Party It is only at the beginning of the Third Reich that there are films wholly devoted to the Party and the Movement This is because, Goebbels saw no particular value in having our stormtroopers march about on stage and screen Their place is on the street The government has never issued an order for stormtrooper films to be made On the contrary, it would regard an excess of them as dangerous And so, whether it be in a turgid romantic melodrama, a hyperbolic war film, or a fluffy musical comedy, there was always some pill buried in the proceedings for the audiences to swallow And even when there was little or no discernible Nazi propaganda in a film, that in itself could be propaganda As Leiser explains Still, in the Third Reich it was not possible to make non political films All films codified or reinforced social expectations Even purely entertainment films had the function to distract the audience from reality and lull them to sleep Despite the restrictions and the largely trivial content of Nazi era films, a few outstanding films got made with relatively little propaganda Some daring and brave directors, like Helmut Kautner, managed to skirt the strictures by preparing so called Minister s copies of film scripts meant for Goebbels prior to production, which omitted some content and intentions of the filmmakers It s thus no surprise that three of the very best films made during the Third Reich were minor masterpieces directed by Kautner Grosse Freiheit No 7 1944 , Unter den Bruecken 1945 and the marvelous Romanze in Moll 1943 , the latter a particular favorite of mine and one that outraged Goebbels with its unflinching portrait of adultery in a time when the purity of German womanhood was not to be impugned.At the other end of the scale was Veit Harlan, who made the single most notorious anti Jewish drama of the time, Jew Suess 1940 , a disturbing distortion of history with a horrific finale that reflected in microcosm the fate of Jews in the Camps During Harlan s war crimes trial in 1948, the besmirched director, in an apparent bid for sympathy, penned a bizarre justification for his film to a prominent rabbi, in which he claimed the film was not really responsible for harm to the Jews, when, in fact, it was catalytic among the populace in the inflammatory responses it caused The rabbi, in his amazing response, was having none of it Leiser reprints this remarkable correspondence in his superb appendix.Leiser spends much ink also on the historical epics and adventure films that featured strong leaders, cinematic surrogates for the Fuerher himself Riding for Gemany 1941 , for example, glorified a horse rider as solitary leader figure called by Providence to his goal, with a good woman faithfully waiting for him at home Films about the Prussian chancellor Bismarck, the alchemist Paracelsus, and others propped up the idea of the visionary rebel who does what s right in spite of the naysayers, another clear nod toward Hitler.In a fascinating chapter on justified euthanasia No Right to Live , Leiser examines the moral dimensions and depravity of the Nazi death cult, and the slippery slope inherent in its justifications of eradicating undesirables, particularly as it s presented in the film, Ich klage an I Accuse 1941 In the film, a woman in pain suffering an incurable disease begs to be put down to end her suffering Yet, as Leiser remarks I Accuse glosses over the genuine dilemma of euthanasia Victims of the actual euthanasia program not only did not request their deaths but were murdered against their will Further The incurably sick soon included completely healthy opponents of the regime Of course, the book examines the many ways in which Jews were dehumanized in film, but perhaps interestingly demonstrates how the Jews, as portrayed, were actually, according to Leiser, a projection of his Nazi persecutors Even as the Allied pincers tightened around Germany near the end, Goebbels retreated into a maniacal belief that the cinema could save the Reich a strange merger of reality with cinematic fantasy At the same time, his old beliefs of a subtle approach to propaganda had died He commissioned an obscene, overtly preachy, gargantuan historical epic, Kolberg, about a heroic Prussian stand against an enemy siege meant to bolster a heroic fortress mentality among the present war weary populace Gone is the time when Goebbels was proudly boasting about his ability to produce invisible propaganda, Leiser states And, as was typical, the Nazi view of history was distorted to suit the present ends In Kolberg, supposedly based on historical fact, the most important parts of the story are wholly invented Kolberg s outrageous expenditure may have ruffled the people suffering privations had it become known As Leiser points out, this most expensive of German movies had soldiers and manpower in its production than the actual combined armies of the real battle of Kolberg.With nearly 200,000 precious and desperately needed troops utilized at one time or another in the film s making, director Harlan noted in retrospect that it was madness , the idea that Hitler and Goebbels must have been obsessed by the idea that a film like this could be useful to them than even a victory in Russia Whatever the case, Kolberg came along too late in the game, and like the Battle of the Bulge, was a futile gesture The movie was still in postproduction as the Russians were overrunning the German eastern border.Perhaps the most moving and chilling observation Leiser makes about Kolberg, and perhaps about the entirety of Nazi cinema and Nazism, is how its corruption of the concept of decency mirrored that of the most heinous Nazi leadership.As Heinrich Himmler said in 1943 Most of you will know what it means to see a thousand corpses lying about To have experienced this and to have remained decentis what has made us tough In Kolberg, a character asks why war sacrifice is worth it, to which a dutiful citizen responds Ah, you need reasons to stay a decent fellow KR KY 2017

  2. says:

    A study of the Nazi flick Including not only the propaganda but the pure entertainment And hitting on some interesting themes the leader principle in all sorts of movies especially those about the poor, persecuted Germans in Eastern Europe , and dying for Germany Communists whose leaders are nasty and cowardly and Jewish but whose rank and file are often presented as possible Nazis Anti semitic and anti handicapped films The mutating treatment of the English as they came to realize that there would be no compromise The blatant Hitler prototypes And Kolburg their last film, written to inspire Germans to die in the last ditch at the very time when Hitler was saying that it would be better to destroy all the food so that the Germans would starve.What is interesting is that a number of the films, with very little tweaking, could have been anti Nazi films The resistance of Kolburg could be played as resistance to the Nazis And the poor persecuted Germans in East Europe films

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