Hitler in the Movies
Finding Der Führer on Film
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In Hitler in the Movies: Finding Der Führer on Film, a Shakespearean and a sociologist explore the fascination our popular culture has with Adolf Hitler. What made him … Hitler? Do our explanations tell us more about the perceiver than the actual historical figure? We ask such question by viewing the Hitler character in the movies. How have directors, actors, film critics, and audiences accounted for this monster in a medium that reflects public tastes and opinions? The book first looks at comedic films, such as Chaplain’s The Great Dictator or Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not to Be (1942), along with the Mel Brooks’s 1983 version. Then, there is the Hitler of fantasy, from trash films like The Saved Hitler’s Brain to a serious work like The Boys from Brazil where Hitler is cloned. Psychological portraits include Anthony Hopkins’s The Bunker, the surreal The Empty Mirror, and Max, a portrait of Hitler in his days in Vienna as a would-be artist. Documentaries and docudramas range from Leni Reinfenstahl’s iconic The Triumph of the Will or The Hidden Führer, to the controversial Hitler: A Film from Germany and Quentin Tarantino’s fanciful Inglourious Basterds. Hitler in the Movies also considers the ways Der Führer remains today, as a ghostly presence, if not an actual character. Why is he still with us in everything from political smears to video games to merchandise? In trying to explain this and the man himself, what might we learn about ourselves and our society?
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