This 1930 Universal Pictures film based on the best-selling Erich Maria Remarque novel about German soldiers during World War I became the first movie to succumb to Nazi pressure after Joseph Goebbels staged a riot during the movie's Berlin premiere. Here's an example of a scene that the Nazis got cut.
Goebbels (1897-1945) was the Third Reich's Propaganda Minister from 1933, when the Nazis took power, until his suicide at the end of World War II. He led the riot against All Quiet on the Western Front that set in motion the complicated relationship that existed between Hollywood and the Nazis.
Goebbels (1897-1945) was the Third Reich's propaganda minister from 1933, when the Nazis took power, until his suicide at the end of World War II. He led the riot against All Quiet on the Western Front that set in motion the complicated relationship that existed between Hollywood and the Nazis.
Hitler was a film buff who watched a movie almost every night. His only comment after watching the King of the Jungle in 1938? "Bad."
The Fuhrer loved the Disney icon so much that he watched five of the mouse's cartoons in July 1937. That year, Goebbels gave him 12 Mickey Mouse films as a Christmas present.
Immediately after Hitler watched the opening scene of this 1938 movie, he personally wrote a new law in Germany: "Whoever sets up a road block with intent to commit a crime will be punished by death." In this clip look for the key scene at 0:53-1:50.
'The House of Rothschild'
The Nazis liked this 1934 20th Century Fox production about the rise of the Jewish family of European bankers so much — they believed it supported their racist stereotypes of Jews — that they pirated a clip for a 1940 propaganda film.
The Nazis liked this 1934 20th Century Fox production about the rise of the Jewish family of European bankers so much -- they believed it supported their racist stereotypes of Jews -- that they pirated a clip for a 1940 propaganda film.
'The Eternal Jew'
This clip from the Nazis' 1940 propaganda film The Eternal Jew pirated portions of 20th Century Fox's The House of Rothschild (1934) for anti-Semitic purposes. Watch from 20:10 to 25:40.
The Nazi's Los Angeles-based consul, Georg Gyssling
Germany's Los Angeles consul and Nazi Party member Georg Gyssling,pictured here with Triumph of the Will director Leni Riefenstahl, monitored American films for the Nazis after his appointment in 1933.
'The Lives of a Bengal Lancer'
Gary Cooper's 1935 film was more popular than Triumph of the Will. The Nazis thought it was a tendenzfilm (a movie that exhibited good National Socialist values) for both the sacrificial leadership of Cooper's character (not unlike Hitler, they believed) and the way his subordinates were ready to sacrifice their lives for him in return. Here's an example of a scene they liked.
The Nazis deemed this 1937 classic starring SpencerTracy and FreddieBartholomew "artistically valuable" for its story about a spoiled young boy learning the value of sacrifice.
Some American movies shown in Germany contradicted Nazi propaganda. In this scene from 1939's Let Freedom Ring, the hero urges a group of foreign workers, including "Germans and Italians, Jews and Russians and Irish," to unite against a tyrannical leader. Incredibly, this film was shown in Germany in 1940.
'Susannah of the Mounties'
Even something as innocuous as a ShirleyTemple movie could be deemed as problematic by Nazi censors. In 1940, German audiences watched Temple become blood brothers with a Native American in Susannah of the Mounties.
'It Can't Happen Here'
Sinclair Lewis' satirical 1935 novel about fascism taking root in the United States was turned into a stage play, but MGM's Louis B. Mayer canceled a planned film adaptation.
Herman J. Manckiewicz
The Citizen Kane screenwriter penned the first important anti-Nazi screenplay in 1936 with The Mad Dog of Europe, but pressure from Gyssling prevented the film from ever being made.
'None Shall Escape'
After the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, Hollywood made many anti-Nazi movies but still avoided the subject of Jewish persecution. This scene from 1944's None Shall Escape was one of the few exceptions.
'Once Upon a Honeymoon'
Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers are mistaken for Jews and interned in a concentration camp in an extremely unusual scene from 1942's Once Upon a Honeymoon (4:10 to the end is especially relevant).
Darryl F. Zanuck
After isolationists claimed Hollywood made movies designed to lead the U.S. into war, Congress held hearings in 1941. Zanuck gave a rousing speech during his testimony claiming that one of the first things Hitler did was throw out American studios after taking power in 1933, despite the fact his company did business in the country until 1940.
The former postmaster general was the head of the the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association of America (popularly known as the Hays Office), which regulated sex and violence in the movies, from 1922-45, and aided the Germans in pressuring Hollywood not to make anti-Nazi movies.
The German-born, Jewish Universal Pictures president succumbed to Nazi pressure to censor All Quiet on the Western Front, but he also helped more than 300 Jews emigrate from Germany before his death in 1939.