Film in a Fascist/ Nazi World

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by The Vulture, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. The Vulture Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    The Wilds of Kr'rundor
    Okay, forget the plausibility and just go with the premise that Fascism and similar is a widespread form of government and the Nazis remain in power in Germany. State controlled press is the norm.

    What is the film industry like? For example, in a Fascist America, are Westerns and the idea of a lone hero still popular? Or do characters work more for the common good? What kind of plotlines do we see?
     
  2. tantalus1970a Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    What an interesting question. You just have to look at the Nazi's film industry, which was pretty big!

    There's no sci-fi for a start, but they do make fantasy films. It's alleged that in the Nazi version of Baron Munchausen, troops were pulled out of the front line to be extras. Not sure if thats true, but it did look impressive when it was shown on the BBC years ago. I think the director tried to sue Terry Gilliam for copying his film (there are some similarities, but the Gilliam film feels more like a weird kind of sequel than a copy)

    I think even in a fascist America, the Western is such a key part of the culture that it stays. Getting out into the wild was a key part of the Nazi ideology. I would bet that they would mostly be about fighting communists, rich capitalists or subhuman native americans.

    I would think there would be a lot of glamour and big-budget films. Nazis really don't do subtlety!

    Everyone in the industry does what they're told (Curt Jurgens, the villain in the Spy who Loved Me, spent a couple of years in a camp for slagging off Goebbels or something)

    And if the Nazi film industry (and Goebbels in particular) is anything to go by, most female parts between about 15 and 40 are cast on the couch!:D
     
  3. The Vulture Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    The Wilds of Kr'rundor
    You know, given Hitler's interest in Karl May, Westerns might actually prove popular in Nazi Germany.
     
  4. tantalus1970a Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    I'll have to look it up, but I think they may have actually made some (I could be completely wrong!). God knows where they could have filmed them. Unless they did what the spaghetti westerns did and went to Spain.

    EDIT: they made one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kaiser_of_California

    They also made some Sherlock Holmes films, and quite a few historical films, although that probably should be 'ahem...historical...yeah, right' films
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2010
  5. Dathi THorfinnsson Da├░i ├×orfinnsson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    aha! Just like Hollywood, then, eh?:)
     
  6. Blair152 Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    It would probably-----on second thought------scratch that. It was definitely
    used for propaganda purposes. In all Nazi-occupied countries, one of the
    films that was routinely shown in theaters was The Eternal Jew, which equated Jews with rats.
     
  7. Blair152 Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Funny, I always thought that Hitler liked Max Brand Westerns. That's why I refuse to read Max Brand Westerns.
     
  8. tantalus1970a Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Haha:). Well, they say we're all the same under the skin!
     
  9. Claudius Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I think that there might be a Sci-Fi genre in a Fascist world. If you've ever seen H.G. Wells' Things to Come, which was filmed in the late 30's and took as its starting point a global world war that went on for decades. The future society's rulers, called "Wings Over the World" had a lot of fascist tone to it, with a global class of scientists who made normal people submit to The Plan. (for their own good of course!):D Wells was an avowed Socialist but his take on the ideal society, at least in this film, was rather authoritarian.
     
  10. joea64 Unabashed Edwardian Era fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Location:
    A few miles south of Henry House Hill
    Well, we had several well-known SF films come out of the Communist countries (Solaris, for one), so I don't know why there wouldn't be SF films in a TL where Fascist regimes survived. (Check Geekhis Khan's "Viva Balbo!" thread; I've posted about this very topic.)

    To recap what I said there, OTL many, if not most, of the big stars of Italian cinema in the postwar era, from Toto (no, not the rock band - I'm talking about the comedian with the odd-looking face whose birth name was Antonio De Curtis) to Vittorio De Sica, were working in the Fascist era. To begin with, at least in the 1940's and 1950's, you'd see a lot of familiar names. I don't think neorealism would get off the ground; what you'd see is, as has been suggested elsewhere in this thread, a lot of fluff (Toto would be working steadily, as long as he kept it apolitical) like comedies and glamour musicals, a lot of costume epics (also a favorite of the Soviets - cf. Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, etc.), and of course a lot of pictures glorifying the Fascist state. I doubt it'd be any different in Nazi Germany.
     
  11. Blair152 Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Don't forget the movies Nazi Germany made early on. One about the Battle of the Teutoberg Forest and the other near the end of the Twelve Year Reich, about Frederick the Great's attempt to take some city. The name escapes me but Hitler pulled thousands of troops off the front lines to be extras. The movie in question, BTW, was dead wrong about the ending.
     
  12. B_Munro Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Fascisms came in all sizes and shapes, Tantalus: there's no reason to assume US fascists will have the same tastes in movies as the Nazis.

    That being said, I suspect comedy is in trouble. Aside from the contribution Jews and African-Americans have made to US humor, people of a totalitarian dispostion generally lack much subtlety in their sense of humor: a Jew being run over with a steamroller is about their speed. Irony is supect, and authority is not to be poked fun of (as long as it is not undermensch authority)

    Bruce
     
    xsampa likes this.
  13. tantalus1970a Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Sounds like Kolberg, but I'm not sure as I haven't seen it. I think the allegation about using front line troops was made about quite a few WW2 Nazi films, but it seems to have been true in this case (no wonder they lost!)
     
  14. lounge60 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2006
    Movies under fascism were pure escapism.
    Comedies,musicals,adventures,love.
    technically were very advanced.
     
  15. tantalus1970a Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    I thought that was the point I made. Westerns are an important part of US culture so Fascist American cinema would still have westerns but with a Fascist ideology, which is (inasmuch as there is one!) Us versus Them. Although Fascist Westerns may be more about Man coping in a harsh environment, and only occasionally being threatened by various degenerates, or perhaps about the temptations of frontier towns.

    NB Fascism comes in some sizes and shapes, but others are excluded!:)

    As far as comedy is concerned, Nazi Germany did make comedies and comedy musicals, but God knows what they were like. Probably not much irony (or subtlety!)
     
  16. tantalus1970a Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Thanks to Goebbels, and Hitler's understanding of the power of the moving image, they had pretty good state funding.

    Out of pure interest, have any of you seen the Nazi version of Baron Munchausen? It's actually quite good, but slightly staid esp in the acting, from what I remember of it.
     
  17. mrmandias Regent

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Location:
    The Great Empty
    Not that painstaking historical accuracy is a hallmark of historical films anywhere.
     
  18. B_Munro Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Oh, sorry. I though you meant the US would have no SF, just like the Nazis.

    Bruce
     
  19. Valdemar II Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Copenhagen; the Kalmar Union
    You want to see how Nazi film would look, look to China. Large epic movie showing the greatness of the state. Likely mix with light comedies and dramas which would be little more than state propaganda.
     
  20. tantalus1970a Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2010
    Actually, that was my first assumption, then I realised, why would the US stop making SF just because the German Nazis don't like it.

    I would guess that American Fascism would be an even stranger mix of backwoodsmen (is that the right term?) and forward-looking idealists than the German version.

    I would say, and I know not everyone would be likely to agree with this, that if you want an example of what American Fascist cinema would look like, watch 300.