From: Boiling Frogs
Thursday, 5. September 2013
Ben Urwand’s The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013) is a disturbing, unsettling and must-read. That Hollywood’s studio heavyweights like Jack Warner and Carl Laemmle would cut scenes and dialog offensive to the ideology of National Socialism is a tough fact to digest. But aggressive capitalists, whether operating in US dollars or German Deutsche Marks, do not distinguish between good and evil….
Urwand notes that Hitler saw the value of film for nationalist, mass propaganda long before other 20th century leaders did. Hitler thought that “Books were worthless. A writer could never change the views of an ordinary man on the street…there was only one way to inspire change–thru the spoken word…the vast majority of people were inherently lazy and unlikely to pick up a book if it went against what they believed to be true…There was a chance that they might glance at a leaflet or poster advertising a contrary position but they would never give it sufficient attention to change their views…The picture in all its forms up to the film has greater possibilities…Here a man needs to use his brains even less, it suffices to look, or at most to read, extremely brief texts and thus many more readily accept a pictorial presentation than read an article of any length. The picture brings them in a much briefer time, I might almost say at one stroke, the enlightenment which they obtain from written matter only after arduous reading….
And as to the beauty of film for nationalist, mass propaganda, Hitler thought that “The same applies even to a movie…If movies were screened around 9 p.m., just when he and many other cinema goers watched them, they could have a powerful effect…The receptivity of the great masses is very limited and their intelligence is small but their power of forgetting is enormous….” According to Urwand, Hitler believed “people were more likely to be convinced by his speeches after sundown. They were also more likely to be seduced by a piece of theater,” in the evening.