Thursday, January 14, 2010

'Beast of Berlin' offers negative 1930s view of Hitler's Germany

Someone call Oliver Stone and/or forward him a link to this post.

As he sets about showing us how Hitler has been unfairly slandered by history and how we can't judge him to be "good" or "bad," he might want to take a look at "The Beast of Berlin." (For background on what I'm referring to, click here.

It's a film made while Hitler was laying the foundation for the death camps and the purges. It's a film that shows that, while many Americans and Britons were turning a blind eye to the evil of Hitler and his National Socialist Party, a few filmmakers were trying to call attention to the truth of Germany and to the evil growing in strength there.

It's too bad that Oliver Stone is apparently committed to be on the side of history's idiots. He could actually do some good with his movies instead of white-washing evil movements and men of the past and lending support to their equals today.

The Beast of Berlin (aka "Hitler: Beast of Berlin" and "Hell's Devils") (1939)
Starring: Ronald Drew, Steffi Duna, Alan Ladd, Hans von Twardowski, Walter Stahl and Henry von Zynda
Director: Sam Newfield
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

A German veteran of WWI and civil engineer (Drew) works quietly with other intellectuals resisting the oppression of Nazis and trying to spread the truth to the people about Hitler and his evil regime. When his wife (Duna) becomes pregnant, he struggles with the choice of continuing his resistance efforts or flee Germany to raise the child in freedom.

"The Beast of Berlin" was one of the very first American movies to present the full truth about Hitler's Germany to the public. It showed the Nazis as a mixture of mindless brutes and embittered soldiers who were still smarting from the humiliation that was dealt Germany by the world following WWI. It also showed that Hitler and his goons were successful to a large degree because the European nations and America were ignoring Hitler's evil or trying to appease him.

Like with Charlie Chaplin's "The Great Dictator" from 1940, Nazi sympathizers and appeasers on film boards in New York and elsewhere tried to prevent this film from being seen. The excuse used in both cases was that the films were inflammetory and would be insulting to Germans in general and Hitler in paticular, but the truth is that the only people who would be insulted by this movie or Chaplin's film would be admirers of the Nazis who wouldn't want the truth spoken about them and the world they were attempting to usher in.

It's a rather a shame that no one seems to have learned the lessons that Hitler and WWII in general tought us.

Today, we have people bending over backwards to appease Muslim fanatics and to avoid insulting them and their admirers by calling them what they are: Brutal subhumans who are bent on imposing a murderous dictatorship on all but themselves. Just like Hitler's Nazis. Hell, they even want to kill the Jews and Catholics, just like Hitler's Nazis. Unfortunately, we're even worse off today than we were in the 1930s, because it isn't censorship boards chaired by Islamo-fascist appeasers and admirers, but the creative community itself who is too stupid and ignorant to see the truth that is taking shape before their very eyes, playing out on cable TV, twenty-four hours a day.

"Beast of Berlin" is a film that actually casts a good light upon the German people; it shows the majority of them as being held captive by Hitler's jackbooted psychos. It shows their brutality and evil for what it was... it even soft-pedals it, as I don't think anyone in America truly believed the depths of evil and depravity that Germany was reaching by 1939.

This is a film that's a bit too preachy at some points and almost laughably melodramatic at others, but, like Chaplin's "The Great Dictator", it's a heartfelt work of art about a subject too few people were willing to discuss at the time it was created. That passion shines through, and it makes the film worth seeing even today.

(Trivia: Ben Judell, the producer of this movie, was forced out of the film company he founded due to the distribution problems the film suffered because of censorship boards nervous about offending Nazis. He went onto independently produce other films geared toward showing the true face of Hitler's Germany, such as the comedy anti-Nazi films, such as the comedy "Hiter, Dead or Alive.")

"Beast of Berlin" is avaliable from for less than $9. It's interesting to see what the contemporary thought was among those who recognized the evil of the Nazis early on. And it might even be interesting for Oliver Stone to see. Maybe someone can buy him a copy of the film as a present?

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