High Treason: Ben Urwand’s Perfidious Projection of Pre-War Hollywood

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Every day, at dinnertime, a servant would present the Adolf Hitler with a list comprising various feature films; sometimes even cartoons. Der Fuhrer would select one film, which would be watched after the dinner in the Music Salon by all interested; even members of the staff were allowed to attend the screening (Kershaw, 101). In the prologue to the most horrific war of the century, Hitler’s, and thus Nazi-Germany’s, interest in film would appear to be of major significance to the world’s biggest film industry: Hollywood. In The Collaboration, Ben Urwand argues that Hollywood’s relationship with Nazi-Germany was one of tolerance and co-operation; the Hollywood studios turned a blind eye to the brutalities committed by the …show more content…
As Germany was one of the most important purchasers of Hollywood films, the studios were happy to agree to these terms, says Urwand, even though they would mean a deprecation of Hollywood as political assessor of the events that would take place in Europe (94). Subsequently, Urwand demonstrates the irony of this situation by underscoring that the Hollywood studios, which were largely run by people from Jewish descent, had disabled themselves from expressing sympathy for the plight of their fellow Jews in Europe, preferring German profits instead. Although the studios were happy to collaborate with the German regime, this did not automatically mean, however, that the directors, writers, actors, etcetera employed by the studios shared this opinion. In order to prevent any unfavourable comment with regard to Germany was depicted in any of their films, the Hollywood studios agreed to always “consult a German representative” before they would release a film (Urwand 54). This representative, the most notorious was George Gyssling (who would be known as ‘Hitler’s Hollywood Consul’), was presented with the first cut of a production and consequently allowed to order cuts of the scenes he did not like. Unsurprisingly, Hitler’s consul commanded a myriad of cuts on films involving Germans, or Jews. The motion picture Captured!, which dealt with a German prison camp, was ordered to delete all scenes in which the Germans were put in

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