Nazi Cinema as Enchantment: The Politics of Entertainment in the Third Reich

Overview

Hitler'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 ...

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Overview

Hitler'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 Professor of German at Skidmore College.

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Skidmore College

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 History, Utopia, and the Social Construction of Happiness: The Historical Musical 17
2 Mapping German Identity: The Foreign Adventure Film 65
3 The Celluloid War: The Home-Front Film 118
4 Discontented Domesticity: The Melodrama 160
5 The Forbidden Desires of Everyday Life: The Problem Film 206
Epilogue 259
Works Cited 265
Index 287
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