Review: Hollywood & Hitler 1933-1939
I’ve read a lot of books about Hitler and WWII this last couple of years, from the fictional (City of Women, The Patient Ecstacy of Fraulein Braun) to non-fiction (Dinner with Churchill, Useful Enemies), so to approach the subject from the angle of entertainment/culture was very interesting. I must admit, there were several things I was completely unaware of, so it certainly enhanced my knowledge.
As a general interest read – rather than for academic reasons – I did find my attention wavering a little at times, so I’ll admit it wasn’t the easiest of reads, but as an academic source, I can see that this would provide a wealth of information and add additional context to the social events of the time. The title – Hollywood & Hitler – sums up the twin aspects of the book perfectly. This is a look at film within the Third Reich itself, as both propaganda and entertainment, but also a look at the effects across the Atlantic.
From restrictions on imports/exports of films, to being unsure whether to show Hitler on screen (and risk giving him a voice) or boycott his appearances (and risk keeping viewers uninformed), to the propaganda value of various films, this really is an excellent look at the issues affecting the film industry at the height of the Third Reich’s journey to first power and then war.
This offers something of interest to film buffs, those with an interest in culture and entertainment and, of course, those with an interest in 20th century history. Don’t be put off by the academic approach. This is a highly informative and worthwhile read, whether it be for general interest or for more serious review.