3 DVD set about "The Years of Struggle": The years before 1933, when the Nazis had to battle their way to power in Germany against fierce opposition among many sectors of the German population. We think that these three films -- Hans Westmar; SA Mann Brand; and Hitlerjunge Quex -- more than any other films of the period, best portray that struggle and --- surprisingly --- do so in a fairly accurately historical way; especially if you can look past the propaganda in each of them. For those with an interest in the goings-on in Weimar Germany and who want an amazingly frank and accurate look at the social, economic and political conditions of interwar Germany, you will not want to miss these films. All three were made in 1933, shortly after Die Machtergreifung, and were meant to memorialize the difficult struggle for those who supported the Nazis and their ideals; that struggle having ended only months before.
And since we're all going through our own "years of struggle" in today's world economy, we feel no need to add to your burdens. Hence, this collection at a discounted price and with careful subtitling; all of which, we hope you'll appreciate.
HANS WESTMAR (1933):
This is an early Nazi propaganda film, and quite a heavy one. It is set in 1929/30, mostly in Berlin, where Communists (KPD), Social Democrats (SPD) and Nazis were battling in the streets for the hearts and souls of the masses. The hero, Hans Westmar (original working title was "Horst Wessel", the (in)famous SA martyr, but the title had to be changed) is a student, who later gives up his study to work as a taxi driver, "to be nearer to the working class people" (though I suppose they wouldn't ride in a taxi too often). The bad guys are the Communists, gleefully depicted as coarse manipulators, speaking with "Eastern" accents, and having a feminist woman in their round. They try to organize the workers into resistance against the Nazis, with their apartment buildings decorated in red flags and banners. But the upcoming election campaign will be a much more brutal fight to the death than either side expects. And that fight to the death will involve Hans Westmar, too ... in more than just figurative terms.
IN GERMAN WITH HARD-ENCODED ENGLISH SUBTITLES. Some softness and pixellization.
SA MANN BRAND (1933):
This film is set during the period shortly before the rise to power of the fascists in Germany in 1933. The Brand and Baum families live in a Munich tenement. Father Brand, a Social Democrat, scorns his son (Fritz) for joining the the fascist shock troops. Anni Bauman is, like her parents, a member of the Communist Party. Nevertheless, she is attracted to Fritz Brand, and when she is given an assignment to trap him, she lets him in on the party's schemes. As the fascists are raiding a Communist cache, Fritz is wounded in crossfire. On his hospital bed, father and son come back together, and Anni opens up to Fritz. Following his discharge, the shock troops march through the residential quarter, and in the midst of it a colleague of Brand Lohner is shot by a Communist. The film ends with the electoral victory of the fascists and the arrest of their political opponents.
IN GERMAN WITH SWITCHABLE ENGLISH SUBTITLES. WELL-USED VHS QUALITY.
HITLERJUNGE QUEX (1933):
Intense film about Berlin in the early 1930s, when the clashes between the Communists and Brown Shirts made life a miserable Hell for everyone. Ironically, one of the film stars, Heinrich George, was, in actuality, a rather dedicated Communist before 1933. In this film, he plays a Communist, who eventually realizes that the red road is not the answer for Germany. For those who want to know what life in Germany was like in the interwar years, this film, though definitively skewed, does give a pretty good idea of the hopelessness, loss of faith and desperation of a people who eventually chose a road as bad as the red one.
Film quality acceptable, considering it's over 70 years old.
IN GERMAN WITH SWITCHABLE ENGLISH SUBTITLES.
TOTAL DURATION: 270 MINUTES (4 1/2 hours).
PLEASE SEE THE INDIVIDUAL LISTINGS FOR PHOTO STILLS AND FILM SAMPLES!