Nazi Cinema as Enchantment: The Politics of Entertainment in the Third Reich (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)
by Mary-Elizabeth O'Brien
ReviewO'Brien carries the reader into the world of Babelsberg, the German Hollywood, where the reader sees Nazi filmmaking as a form of amusement that carries the Nazi message. CHOICE The readings are integrated within a larger, compelling argument about the function of entertainment within the framework of Nazi culture so that the focus convincingly broadens the understanding of the complexities in this crucial period of German film history. MONATSHEFTE O'Brien's book is the product of extensive archival research and provides numerous services to the reader... (Her) readings convincingly show how films not generally viewed as propaganda films were produced with explicit ideological goals in mind. GERMAN QUARTERLY clearly structured, ... the film interpretations are embedded in well-summarized historical contexts.... The book's eminent readability makes it enjoyable and accessible to the non-specialist. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW Product DescriptionHitler's regime not only terrorized its citizens; it also seduced them, offering stability, a traditional value system, a sense of belonging, and hope of a better standard of living. Nazi cinema was part of this seduction, expressing positive social fantasies and promoting the enchantment of reality, so that one would want to share in the dream at any price. This interdisciplinary study, based on exhaustive research in German archives, examines how thirteen films from five genres -- the historical musical, the foreign adventure film, the home-front film, the melodrama, and the problem film -- enchanted audiences and enacted shared stories that can tell us much about how family, community, history, the nation, and the war were imagined in Nazi Germany. MARY-ELIZABETH O'BRIEN is associate professor of German at Skidmore College.