Friday, September 05, 2008

Hitler's Children

Hitlerin lapset. US (c) 1943 RKO. P: Edward A. Golden. D: Edward Dmytryk. SC: Emmet Lavery - based on the book Education for Death (1941) by Gregor Ziemer. DP: Russell Metty. M: Roy Webb. Starring Tim Holt (Ltn. Karl Bruner), Bonita Granville (Anna Miller), Kent Smith (Prof. Nichols), Otto Kruger (Col. Henkel), H.B. Warner (the Bishop), Lloyd Corrigan (Franz Erhart), Erford Gage (Dr. Schmidt), Hans Conried (Dr. Graf), Peter Van Eyck (arresting sergeant). 82 min. A 16mm C&C television print viewed at Bio Asta, Filmens Hus, Copenhagen, 5 September 2008. - Dmytryk already had a long career when he started to attract attention directing films like this. It is a straightforward political drama about Nazi Germany in 1933-1939, with an interesting montage in the beginning. The fictional story bringing to life the story of the rise of Hitler's Germany. The main characters are the schoolchildren Karl and Anna who grow into young adults, Karl into a Gestapo soldier, Anna into a young woman believing in the American ideal of liberty (she is an American citizen). - The drama is harsh and abrupt, but not far removed from reality? - The Nazis are not caricatures, which makes convincing the greatest horror that Anna could become a Nazi, too. - A memorable character is journalist Franz Erhard, who has to be afraid of his own children. He never gives up silent resistance. - A major theme: compulsive sterilization for those who cannot support strong Germany, including women with incorrect political thought. - A turning-point at the church where the bishop is proud to denounce the Führer. "Let me die while I'm still proud I'm a German". "A special prayer for our speedy destruction at the hands of our enemies". - As Anna is about to be whipped and sterilized, Karl rescues her, but submits to a radio trial, where he is expected to give an example for all. He utilizes the opportunity to praise Goethe's lesson of life against an education for death. "To live is to be free. Long live the enemies of Nazi Germany". All Germany hears Gestapo shoot Karl and Anna live on the air. - The film is based on the personal experience of Gregor Ziemer, an American educator in Germany in the 1930s. The book was also the source for the Disney propaganda short Education for Death (also 1943).

No comments: