Third Reich Cinema

Hartmut Bitomsky and Heiner Mühlenbrock – Deutschlandbilder aka Pictures of Germany (1984)

This compilation film focuses on the contents of Nazi propaganda shorts such as “The Beauty of Work” (1934), “We Have No Problems” (1933), or “The Will To Live” (1944) that preceded the feature films in German movie theaters between 1933 and 1945. The shorts reveal that men and women workers were idealized, uniformity was stressed, optimism in the face of adversity was the goal, and, in general, all the classic lies that dictatorships use to control and mold their citizens are featured. Deutschland Bilder would be offensive to many because of its content alone, even more so when one remembers what these same Nazis were doing in the extermination camps. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide Read More »

    Leni Riefenstahl – Der Sieg des Glaubens AKA Victory of the Faith (1933)

    Plot
    Der Sieg des Glaubens (English: The Victory of Faith) is the first documentary directed by Leni Riefenstahl, who was hired despite opposition from Nazi officials that resented employing a woman — and a non-Party member too. Her film recounts the Fifth Party Rally of the Nazi Party, which occurred in Nuremberg from August 30 to September 3 in 1933. Read More »

      Rolf Hansen – Der Weg ins Freie AKA The Way to Freedom (1941)

      Synopsis:
      ‘In Vienna, during the 1848 Revolution, opera singer Antonia Corvelli marries Detlev von Blossin, a rich landowner. But, as she refuses to give up her career, her infuriated husband returns to Pomerania without her. After falling into the clutches of the cruel and wicked count Stefan Oginski, whose lover she unfortunately becomes, Antonia has no other choice but to pass for dead in order to escape him. She then returns to Italy where she joins small theater companies under various aliases. Until one day she is overtaken by her fate…’
      – Guy Bellinger Read More »

        Veit Harlan – Jud Süß AKA Jew Seuss (1940)

        In this notorious Nazi propaganda historical costume melodrama, a conniving, ambitious Jewish businessman, Süß Oppenheimer, snares a post as treasurer to the Duke of Wurttemburg by showering the corrupt duke with treasure and promises of even greater riches. As the Jew’s schemes grow more elaborate and his actions more brazen, the dukedom nearly erupts into civil war. Persuaded by the Jew, the Duke all but scuttles the constitution and alienates the assembly by lifting the local ban on Jews in Stuttgart. In a final outrage, the Jew rapes a wholesome German girl and tortures her father and fiancée. When the Duke succumbs to a sudden heart attack, the assembly of Elders try the Jew and sentence him to death for having “carnal knowledge of a Christian woman”. Read More »

          Fritz Hippler – Der ewige Jude AKA The Eternal Jew (1940)

          Under the guise of a brutally honest documentary, this malevolent propaganda film aims to be an “indispensable tool in the hands of the Aryan race”, designed to depict the “true” Jew when the masks of western civilisation fall off. Read More »

            Erich Engels – Sherlock Holmes – Die graue Dame (1937)

            A bizarre cash-in, Die Graue Dame is a quasi-Holmes picture based on a theatrical play entirely unrelated to the works of Doyle and released shortly after the Bruno Güttner-starring Der Hund von Baskerville (1937). Here, young Jimmy Ward – played by Hermann Speelmans (1906-1960), who’d featured in the vile Nazi propaganda feature Hitlerjunge Quex: ein Film vom Opfergeist der Deutschen Jugend (1933), an immorality tale designed to drum up recruitment into the Hitler Youth – infiltrates a criminal gang, only to reveal at the last moment that he is, in fact, none other than an undercover Sherlock Holmes. One can only presume that the ‘John’ – who, according to the credits list, acts as Holmes’ ‘servant’ – was intended to be none other than the hapless Dr Watson. ~Alan Barnes, Sherlock Holmes on Screen Read More »

              Luis Trenker – Der Berg ruft! AKA The Mountain Calls (1938)

              Synopsis:
              The Italian mountaineer Carel wants to be the first man to stand on the top of the Matterhorn. Since the climb is very difficult, he agrees to try it together with the British mountaineer Whymper. But due to an intrigue this agreement is dropped and the two men try it on the same day with two different teams and then disaster strikes. Read More »