Nazi Movies: 'Hitler's Hollywood' & 'National Socialism Propaganda Films'
“Nazi movies,” films made in Germany and (later) Austria during the 1930s and early 1940s, encompassed a whole array of genres. These were oftentimes propaganda films disguised as escapist comedies, dramas, and musicals, curiously (or eerily) similar to much of what was being done in Hollywood at the time. (Image: Carl Raddatz, Ilse Werner Request Concert / Wunschkonzert.)
Among the films currently being screened at Filmarchiv Austria under the banners “Hitler's Hollywood” – that's Vienna – and “National Socialism Propaganda Films” are: The Old and the Young King / Der Alte und der junge König (1935), starring the first ever Best Actor Academy Award winner, Emil Jannings, and Leopoldine Konstantin (billed as Madame Konstantin in Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious); A Whole Life Long / Ein Leben lang(1940), starring Paula Wessely and eventual Nazi victim Joachim Gottschalk (in 1941, unable to leave the country, Gottschalk committed suicide, along with his Jewish wife and their nine-year-old son); and Patriots / Patrioten (1937), with Czech actress Lída Baarová, at one point the lover of Nazi Minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels – who, by the way, happened to be both an ardent “family values” advocate and very much married at the time of the affair.
Also, Eduard von Borsody's Request Concert / Wunschkonzert (1940), starring Girl Next Door Ilse Werner and Boy Next Door Carl Raddatz, a dreary romantic melodrama of interest solely because of its stupefyingly belligerent finale; and one of the most infamous films in the history of motion pictures, Veit Harlan's rabidly anti-Semitic box office hit Jew Süss / Jud Süss (1940), the (bastardized) tale of a greedy Jewish man who rapes an Aryan woman, played by the popular Swedish actress Kristina Söderbaum.
Anti-Nazi Movies: 'Hollywood Against Hitler'
Filmarchiv Austria will also show a series of films under the banner “Hollywood Against Hitler,” including the (then) daring (but now quite dated) 1939 Warner Bros. production Confessions of a Nazi Spy, which offers a warning against Nazi infiltration in the United States – among All-Americans – and starring Edward G. Robinson, Francis Lederer, and Paul Lukas; André de Toth's rarely seen None Shall Escape (nominated for the Best Original Story Oscar in 1945), with Alexander Knox and Marsha Hunt; the equally little-seen Hostages (1943), directed by Frank Tuttle, and starring two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Luise Rainer; and Fritz Lang's Hangmen Also Die! (1943), from a screenplay by Lang and Bertolt Brecht, and starring Brian Donlevy.
Ilse Werner, Carl Raddatz Request Concert / Wunschkonzert photo via Filmarchiv Austria.