Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

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Michael F. Blake

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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostTue Jul 09, 2013 2:16 pm

Laemmle was out at Universal BEFORE THE ROAD BACK was ever in production. I should know, my dad is in the film.

Universal DID cave in to Germany, especially AFTER all the actors in the film received a letter from the German Consulate in L.A. that none of their films would be shown in Germany because of their appearing in THE ROAD BACK. I have the letter sent to my dad at Universal. The studio drastically cut the film, which hurt it in release.

In 1939, within a week of the German amry invading Poland, Universal brought my dad back to play Hitler (he was the first American actor to portray him) in some additional scenes. As I understand it, the LOC has a copy of that version.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostTue Jul 09, 2013 6:12 pm

Sure, we all know Laemmle was out at Universal before the May 1936 release of "Showboat." The subject at hand for me is whether Universal's new owner directed studio boss Charles Rogers to block James Whale from making "The Road Back" the way Whale wanted. IMDb indicates Rogers removed Whale from the production and made 21 cuts to the movie. The Nazis were no fans of Erich Maria Remarque and his anti-war novels. 1930's "All Quiet On The Western Front," produced by Universal, probably did not make Goebbels Top Ten list.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostThu Jul 25, 2013 6:10 pm

Recently watched again EMPLOYEES ENTRANCE 1933 starring Warren William. Struck me how Hitler like he was in the role of Kurt Anderson the dictatorial Department Store Mangager. As vile, immoral, brutal, pitiless and autocratic as the most evil villians in film history. Yet charming, seductive and oddly very sympathetic and heroic. Only he can drag the tottering business out of the Depression. He tramples over his superiors with ease. He is a ruthless capitalist yet deep down he is also a socialist. He scorns the old money and aristocratic classes. A combination of very Nazi core beliefs. Could it be no co-incidence that the character portrayal in this film was made in the year Hitler came to power? A very extraodinay brilliant and one of a kind performnce by William who had no right to get away with it.
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entredeuxguerres

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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostThu Jul 25, 2013 9:18 pm

Changsham wrote: A very extraodinay brilliant and one of a kind performnce by William who had no right to get away with it.


"Brilliant," indisputably, but I think his roles in Skyscraper Souls & Match King were similar, and not far less brilliant. What's surprising to me about all these roles is that his natural bent seemed clearly to be comedy...wonderfully, in Gold-Diggers of '33, unbearably, in Satan Met a Lady.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostWed Jul 31, 2013 12:04 pm

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/h ... 684?page=3" target="_blank" target="_blank

Link to this story on top spot above banner "Drudge Report."
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostThu Aug 01, 2013 1:16 pm

I started this thread and it's been interesting to read the many comments and associated links. While I'm no expert on this aspect of Hollywood history, I must admit that the rebuttal link listed above provides the much needed historical context of the Third Reich (well, I am a history major). Nobody could have predicted that the Germany of 1933 would morph into the Germany of 1939 or 40. Even the persecution of the Jews was initially intended to make the Jews leave Germany. The Holocaust only came later. I have to agree with Prof. Doherty in the rebuttal that the problem with the forthcoming book is that it overstates its case by using the benefit of hindsight to criticize the movie moguls. We have seen a number of books in recent years that offered a revisionist view of the Second World War and its lead up during the Thirties. One popular book claimed that Churchill could have - and should have - made peace with Hitler and thus spared Britain the carnage and destruction it suffered by fighting Germany. To accept the plausibility of this premise required readers to have limited knowledge of the events of that time and today, unfortunately, that's easy to achieve.

A book recommendation: William L. Shirer's BERLIN DIARY: 1934-1940. Shirer was the CBS radio news correspondent in Germany during those years and the secret diary that he kept, and published in 1941, provides almost a day-by-day account of Germany's decent into Nazi Hell. It didn't happen all at once or over just a few months.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 6:23 am

There was nazi moviments in USA before and after the war.

If they were Strong enough to influence cinema industry...
Keep thinking...

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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 7:18 am

There was nazi moviments in USA before and after the war.

If they were Strong enough to influence cinema industry...


Apparently they were so strong in Hollywood that Warner Bros. made Black Legion and Confessions of a Nazi Spy attacking them.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 8:47 am

IMDb: Adolf Hitler reportedly planned to execute the makers of this film upon winning the war.

"Confessions Of A Nazi Spy" is the exception that proves the rule, that Hollywood kowtowed to the militarists in Germany. Even though this movie was a box office success, no Hollywood studio made another movie harshly critical of the German government until after December 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the United States.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 9:17 am

momsne wrote:IMDb: Adolf Hitler reportedly planned to execute the makers of this film upon winning the war.

"Confessions Of A Nazi Spy" is the exception that proves the rule, that Hollywood kowtowed to the militarists in Germany. Even though this movie was a box office success, no Hollywood studio made another movie harshly critical of the German government until after December 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the United States.


According to Edward G. Robinson in his autobio, ALL MY YESTERDAYS, the film CONFESSIONS did not do that well and he believed the problem was with the all-star cast. EGR wrote that had the actors been competent non-celebrities the film might had done better. Personally, I think the American public did not accept the film's warning that America was infiltrated by Nazi spies everywhere. The next time that Warners tackled the subject of Nazi spies in America, it was in ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT and that was largely played for laughs.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 9:42 am

bobfells wrote: One popular book claimed that Churchill could have - and should have - made peace with Hitler and thus spared Britain the carnage and destruction it suffered by fighting Germany. To accept the plausibility of this premise required readers to have limited knowledge of the events of that time and today, unfortunately, that's easy to achieve.


That book I don't know, but I have read a carefully observed description of Winston written by one who knew him very well, Diana Mitford's, A Life of Contrasts; rather a different picture than the usual hagiographies, such as the TV programs I grew up on: 20th Century, Victory at Sea, and later, The World at War. Then, I'd easily have voted him "Greatest Man Of the 20th Century."

But the release by the British gov't, since then, of classified WWI documents, which show him (as First Sea Lord) to have authorized secret transportation of munitions on passenger vessels such as the Lusitania, in blatant violation of international treaties, reveal quite a different personality. WWII is a different issue, but for sheer "un-necessariness," Britain's involvement in the Great War easily exceeds our disastrous involvement in Iraq.

Never read Shirer's Diary, but when I read Rise & Fall in high-school (a long time ago), I was struck by his manifest hatred not merely of Nazis & Nazism, but of Germans, & German culture. Such hatred does not necessarily invalidate the accuracy of his observations, but it certainly ought to be acknowledged, & taken into account when reading his works.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 12:45 pm

entredeuxguerres wrote:
bobfells wrote: One popular book claimed that Churchill could have - and should have - made peace with Hitler and thus spared Britain the carnage and destruction it suffered by fighting Germany. To accept the plausibility of this premise required readers to have limited knowledge of the events of that time and today, unfortunately, that's easy to achieve.


That book I don't know, but I have read a carefully observed description of Winston written by one who knew him very well, Diana Mitford's, A Life of Contrasts; rather a different picture than the usual hagiographies, such as the TV programs I grew up on: 20th Century, Victory at Sea, and later, The World at War. Then, I'd easily have voted him "Greatest Man Of the 20th Century."

But the release by the British gov't, since then, of classified WWI documents, which show him (as First Sea Lord) to have authorized secret transportation of munitions on passenger vessels such as the Lusitania, in blatant violation of international treaties, reveal quite a different personality. WWII is a different issue, but for sheer "un-necessariness," Britain's involvement in the Great War easily exceeds our disastrous involvement in Iraq.

Never read Shirer's Diary, but when I read Rise & Fall in high-school (a long time ago), I was struck by his manifest hatred not merely of Nazis & Nazism, but of Germans, & German culture. Such hatred does not necessarily invalidate the accuracy of his observations, but it certainly ought to be acknowledged, & taken into account when reading his works.


Diana Mitford? Good heavens! To call her a Nazi sympathizer is being polite. Hitler attended her wedding. Check out the Wiki section for starters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Mitford" target="_blank

But this thread isn't about Churchill or Mitford but about perceptions of Nazi Germany and how they changed during the 1930s. Re Shirer, I just read his Rise and Fall tome last winter so it's fresh in my mind. He criticizes the German people for an alleged predisposition for following any authoritarian leader without question but that's a long way from calling Shirer's views "hatred." I found some politically-incorrect statements in Shirer's book, at least by today's standards. He repeatedly points out that the ranks of Nazi leaders were full of "perverts and homosexuals" as if being gay were a cause of Nazism. Shirer's BERLIN DIARY is more of a day to day account of life in Germany during the mid and late 1930s and avoids much of the judgmental writing of his later (1960) RISE AND FALL.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 3:53 pm

bobfells wrote:
entredeuxguerres wrote:
bobfells wrote: One popular book claimed that Churchill could have - and should have - made peace with Hitler and thus spared Britain the carnage and destruction it suffered by fighting Germany. To accept the plausibility of this premise required readers to have limited knowledge of the events of that time and today, unfortunately, that's easy to achieve.


That book I don't know, but I have read a carefully observed description of Winston written by one who knew him very well, Diana Mitford's, A Life of Contrasts; rather a different picture than the usual hagiographies, such as the TV programs I grew up on: 20th Century, Victory at Sea, and later, The World at War. Then, I'd easily have voted him "Greatest Man Of the 20th Century."

But the release by the British gov't, since then, of classified WWI documents, which show him (as First Sea Lord) to have authorized secret transportation of munitions on passenger vessels such as the Lusitania, in blatant violation of international treaties, reveal quite a different personality. WWII is a different issue, but for sheer "un-necessariness," Britain's involvement in the Great War easily exceeds our disastrous involvement in Iraq.

Never read Shirer's Diary, but when I read Rise & Fall in high-school (a long time ago), I was struck by his manifest hatred not merely of Nazis & Nazism, but of Germans, & German culture. Such hatred does not necessarily invalidate the accuracy of his observations, but it certainly ought to be acknowledged, & taken into account when reading his works.


Diana Mitford? Good heavens! To call her a Nazi sympathizer is being polite. Hitler attended her wedding. Check out the Wiki section for starters:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Mitford" target="_blank" target="_blank

But this thread isn't about Churchill or Mitford but about perceptions of Nazi Germany and how they changed during the 1930s. Re Shirer, I just read his Rise and Fall tome last winter so it's fresh in my mind. He criticizes the German people for an alleged predisposition for following any authoritarian leader without question but that's a long way from calling Shirer's views "hatred." I found some politically-incorrect statements in Shirer's book, at least by today's standards. He repeatedly points out that the ranks of Nazi leaders were full of "perverts and homosexuals" as if being gay were a cause of Nazism. Shirer's BERLIN DIARY is more of a day to day account of life in Germany during the mid and late 1930s and avoids much of the judgmental writing of his later (1960) RISE AND FALL.


There was a sub culture of militaristic homosexuals in the Nazi SA and most of the top SA leadership were gay. Not normal mainstream gays in the modern sense but an extreme sub culture of gay militarists that likened themselves to warriors of ancient Sparta.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 5:06 pm

IMDb: Adolf Hitler reportedly planned to execute the makers of this film upon winning the war.


Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 5:38 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
IMDb: Adolf Hitler reportedly planned to execute the makers of this film upon winning the war.


Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade.


It was Hitlers policy to kill all the Intellegentsia in occupied countries. He was particulary brutal in this respect in Poland. He even had a list of over 2000 names prepared for his planned invasion of England of persons to be executed. That would include film makers that displeased him and there would have been many..
As for New York, he may have been tempted to recruit denizens of certain sections to help carry out his wider agenda. The large Jewish population would have got on his nerves. No doubt give them free licence to murder, loot and pillage as long as they get the job done.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 03, 2013 5:43 pm

bobfells wrote:But this thread isn't about Churchill or Mitford but about perceptions of Nazi Germany and how they changed during the 1930s.


Precisely WHY Mitford's intelligent, first-hand account of the social & political situation in '30s England & Germany is relevant; many other thoughtful Brits, especially among the upper classes, contrasted their sluggish economy & cultural malaise (this was the period of widespread "country home" destruction to escape crushing war-taxes) with vibrant, optimistic Germany, and thought they're might be something worthwhile to learn from the Teutonic example. Lindberg, among other Americans, apparently thought so, too.

Yes, of course, Mitford was a "Nazi sympathizer" PRIOR to the war, but should that devalue the worth of her unique observations, when she was in a position to sup with both Hitler AND Churchill? (During & long after the war, she & her husband, Oswald Mosley, paid heavily for those pre-war sympathies, though neither were ever so much as charged with any crime.)

As I said, it's been a long time since I tackled the Rise & Fall, but I can't get over the feeling that what I was then reading was very far from objective historiography.
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Dictators+Film:Mussolini & March; Mayer vs Hitler

PostFri Aug 09, 2013 9:40 am

Mussolini was a better casting director (see 1936 clip below) than credited, but it took another producer to get the movie made

Film Daily July 30, 1936------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Christopher Columbus (1949) Film Poster
Image Image




Image
Pages 231-233 (The Mayer and Wyler quotes used in the Herman excerpts below were
taken from a book by Axel Madsen and a documentary by Catherine Wyler)


When Mrs. Miniver began November 11, 1941, a small box for the director arrived on the MGM set. Inside was a pair of black velvet gloves, a gift from his leading lady. The card read: "For the iron hand of William Wyler."
Greer Garson had a sense of humor………………………….
Louis B. Mayer wasn't quite as deft. The MGM chief called Wyler on the carpet a couple of weeks into production. Why, he wanted to know, was Wyler departing from the script amid injecting so much anti-German sentiment? He had just heard about a sequence in which a young, wounded Luftwaffe pilot - shot down over a London suburb
and found by Mrs. Miniver in her backyard garden-was being remade into a self-righteous, fiendish killer. To have him spout Hitler's master race slogans was unacceptable, Mayer told him.
"Mr. Mayer," Wyler said, "you know what's going on, don't you?"
"Look," said Mayer, cutting him off, "maybe you don't understand. We're not at war with anybody. We don't hate anybody. This picture shows [the British] having a hard time, and it's very sympathetic towards them - but it's not directed against the Germans."
"Mr. Mayer, if I had several Germans in the picture, I wouldn't mind having one who was a decent young fellow. But I've only got one German. And if I make this picture, this one German is going to be a typical little Nazi son-of-a-bitch. He's not going to be a friendly little pilot but one of Goering's monsters."
"Look, this is a big corporation," Mayer retorted. "I'm responsible to my stockholders. We have theaters all over the world, a couple in Berlin. This is not a hate picture. We don't hate anybody. We're not at war."
"You love the Germans?" Wyler asked.
Mayer gave him a hard stare. "Well, we'll look at the scene when it's finished. Just remember what I told you."
In fact, the loss of overseas markets, particularly in Germany, was not Mayer's primary concern. That might have been true five years earlier when official German policy against importing American films began to take hold. By 1936 the German Ministry of Propaganda had excluded most run-of-the-mill Hollywood features from the Third Reich. Moreover, in the summer of 1940, three days before all American films were banned outright, MGM closed its Berlin office and effectively ceased its German operations.
What really worried Mayer was a threat that originated much closer to home, in Washington, D.C. For nearly three weeks in September 1941 a Senate subcommittee had held hearings to investigate the purported link between anti-Nazi propaganda in Hollywood films and monopolistic practices by the major studios. Spurred by a pair of rabidly isolationist senators, Gerald P. Nye of North Dakota and Bennett Champ Clark of Missouri, the hearings had attacked the studio heads as a Jewish conspiracy trying to draw the United States into a European war allegedly to protect their British interests. Nye, who was a darling of the Fascist-friendly America First Committee, set the bigoted tone of the hearings. But he had plenty of support from his senate colleagues, who vented their own prejudices in a display of anti-Semitism and anglophobia so outrageous that it prompted a general outcry in the press.
World events resolved Wyler's argument with Mayer just days after they clashed………………………………
The morning after the attack on Pearl Harbor Mayer called Wyler into his office.
"I've been thinking about that scene," he said. "You may be right. You do it the way you want, that's fine with me."
Last edited by JFK on Sun Oct 06, 2013 5:53 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostFri Aug 09, 2013 10:19 am

An interesting parallel to this thread is what's happening right now with Russia's recent repressive legislation affecting the LGBT community. "Milk" screenwriter Dustin Lance Black was on the Lawrence O'Donnell show Thursday arguing that since much of the money Hollywood studios now make comes from sales abroad, and since Russia is a major market, and since
most of the attendance in Russia is for Hollywood not Russian made movies, if our studios used their pressure on Russia to send them a message about how Hollywood doesn't like what Russia is doing, maybe things could change. The comparisons that have started to be made between Putin and Hitler are a bit far fetched, but it's a discussion worth having.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostFri Aug 09, 2013 10:23 am

Thanks for that quote, JFK. It helps illustrate the divided loyalties and cross-purposes of Americans at that time. I also like the way it portrays Louis B. Mayer as an intelligent person instead of the obnoxious blowhard that many "star" bios have depicted him. Edward G. Robinson was impressed with Mayer, for example, as a viewpoint not often seen.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 10, 2013 10:29 am

Gee,I guess if Hollywood had made more movies critical of the Nazis in the 30s, and of the Holocaust in the 40s, we wouldn't have had to win the war!
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 10, 2013 10:30 am

momsne wrote:IMDb: Adolf Hitler reportedly planned to execute the makers of this film upon winning the war.

"Confessions Of A Nazi Spy" is the exception that proves the rule, that Hollywood kowtowed to the militarists in Germany. Even though this movie was a box office success, no Hollywood studio made another movie harshly critical of the German government until after December 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the United States.

What about THE MORTAL STORM and ESCAPE, both released in 1940?
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 10, 2013 2:22 pm

antoniod wrote:
momsne wrote:IMDb: Adolf Hitler reportedly planned to execute the makers of this film upon winning the war.

"Confessions Of A Nazi Spy" is the exception that proves the rule, that Hollywood kowtowed to the militarists in Germany. Even though this movie was a box office success, no Hollywood studio made another movie harshly critical of the German government until after December 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the United States.

What about THE MORTAL STORM and ESCAPE, both released in 1940?


At the risk of repeating myself:
According to Edward G. Robinson in his autobio, ALL MY YESTERDAYS, the film CONFESSIONS did not do that well and he believed the problem was with the all-star cast. EGR wrote that had the actors been competent non-celebrities the film might had done better. Personally, I think the American public did not accept the film's warning that America was infiltrated by Nazi spies everywhere. The next time that Warners tackled the subject of Nazi spies in America, it was in ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT and that was largely played for laughs.

As for THE MORTAL STORM and ESCAPE, in the words of William K. Everson, both these films were about the Second World War as seen from a drawing room.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostSat Aug 10, 2013 8:24 pm

bobfells wrote:As for THE MORTAL STORM and ESCAPE, in the words of William K. Everson, both these films were about the Second World War as seen from a drawing room.


And what in the world did he mean by that? Escape is a gripping, moving, and thoughtful picture, thanks to the marvelous performance of Veidt; yes, and Norma.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostMon Sep 09, 2013 11:11 am

The New Yorker's David Denby has written a lengthy assessment of the two books on this topic that have been released recently, 'The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact with Hitler' by Ben Urwand; and 'Hollywood and Hitler 1933-1939' by Thomas Doherty. His article is currently available online at http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2013/09/16/130916crbo_books_denby?currentPage=all. He judges Doherty's book the superior of the two, Urwand seeming to have fitted the conclusion to his theory rather than the other way around.

Denby's argument is pretty well summarised in his final paragraph:

That a man like Georg Gyssling [a Nazi operative living in Hollywood, who dealt with Joseph Breen] was allowed past the front gate of an American film studio is a disgrace, and Urwand deserves credit for bringing his role out of obscurity. But the charge of “collaboration” is inaccurate and unfair—a case of scholarly sensationalism. The studios didn’t advance Nazism; they failed to oppose it. In that failure, they were joined, and even surpassed, by other American businesses, including General Motors, DuPont, I.B.M., and Ford, which operated in Nazi Germany and, in some cases, continued to operate there after the war began. None of this makes Hollywood any less cowardly, but Urwand, writing in the shadow of the Holocaust, which few people in the mid-thirties could have imagined, recasts every act of evasion as the darkest complicity. And he is too enraged to pose the obvious practical questions: What if the studios had made a slew of anti-Nazi movies? Would many people have gone to them? Could the studios have alerted the world to the threat of Nazism? It’s hard to say. Still, it would have been nice if they had tried.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostMon Sep 09, 2013 11:28 am

Sounds like I judgement that I can completely agree with!
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostMon Sep 09, 2013 12:48 pm

I posted a review of the Urwand book on amazon and as a separate topic here. I was more concerned about Urwand's selective quotes from the film and mischaracterizing them. But to cut to the chase, I agree with the NYT reviewer that Urwand seems to have fit the facts to prove his theory. I need to read the Doherty book next
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostMon Sep 09, 2013 12:52 pm

Denby's piece is excellent and to my mind realistic in its conclusion: the studios were much less concerned about what any Nazis thought than about the industry being thought of as too Jewish in an America where cornfed anti-semitism was routine (and I would say to some extent a racist proxy for the natural political jostling between urban and rural America at a time when one was growing and one was shrinking in influence). In the end, they stayed away from telling ethnic stories for the sake of keeping their market in Iowa or Ohio, not Bavaria.

Which raises another interesting point: Hollywood was hugely effective during WWII and after in portraying America as a unified front despite multiple ethnicities, as in all those movies where the bomber crew has a Jewish guy, an Italian guy, a guy named Tex, etc. Would the movies have been as good at that in the 1940s if they had been identified with one political faction in the 1930s?
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostMon Sep 09, 2013 2:17 pm

Good point; racism wasn't monopolized by the nazis after all.
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Re: Hollywood's Creepy Love Affair with Hitler

PostMon Sep 16, 2013 8:56 am

Farran Smith Nehme discusses Urwand's The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact With Hitler at Self-Styled Siren.
http://selfstyledsiren.blogspot.com/201 ... -with.html" target="_blank
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Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp"
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