SKU 128

GERMAN PANORAMA # 09: 1937-44

In this series of ten films, Germany, its culture, people and landscapes are shown as they all looked like from 1937-1944: 

Die Kamera fahrt mit  (1937):  Delightful, 12 minute film about how the news is made in Germany.  Not some dry, technical film, this work shows how cameramen film the current events, how they use their equipment and how the film is developed, edited and spliced.  Events such as the Winter Olympics are used to demonstrate how it's all done.  If you think you've ever wanted to work as a cameraman, this film will make you want to become one ... well ... at least 70 years ago anyhow.  Lots of action and excitement and you can bet no writers or technicians went on strike here!  Very good quality film;
Flieger, Funker, Kanoniere  (1937):  11 minute film about the new Luftwaffe with English subtitles and very good picture quality.  For any air force fans out there, a very interesting and exciting film;
Wort und Tat  (1938):  10 minute montage of the events from the chaos of the late 20s and early 30s up til the time of the Anschluss of Austria in March 1938.  Meant to demonstrate how times had changed.  Oh boy:  did they ever!  Good quality film;
Fallschirmjager Training Film  (1939):  15 minute training film about how paratroopers train to do their job.  It's a good quality film, but there is some jerkiness and slow motion at points from the PAL transfer;
Sprung in den Feind  (1942):  Very good quality, 22 minute film concerning the invasion of Holland in 1940 with very good quality film of paratroopers invading and taking bridges, landmarks, etc.  Ironically, the film has Dutch subtitles;
Gebirgsjager auf verschneiten Gletschern  (1943):  20 minute training film for elite mountain troops on how to do their job in tough winter conditions.  Overall, this has good film quality, but there are some focus issues, as this was meant to be a training film for internal consumption and the quality of the camera work was, therefore, not the best.;
Junges Europa  (1943):  12 minute film on the training and education of German youth in wartime Europe.  Good quality film, but there is a logo on the bottom right hand side of the screen;
The Jews of Theresienstadt  (1944):  In 1944, delegates from the International Red Cross were brought to Theresienstadt in the hope that their reports on the visit would quell worldwide rumours about the extermination of the Jews.  Selected parts of the ghetto were cleaned-up and a fantasy world was created for the benefit of the neutral observers to show that all the resettlement camps in the East were just like Theresienstadt;  just not so luxurious as here in the Paradise Ghetto.  So well did the farce work, that the Germans decided to make a follow-up film to the visit.  Entitled, Der Fuhrer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt, the movie portrays well dressed, happy and well behaved internees at work, at play, at cultural events, and so on.  Given what we know now, the opening scene showing metal workers hammering away to the tune of the Can-Can is a bit unsettling, but it sets the tone for this Potemkin film of a Potemkin Village.  Just as the majority of Europe's Jews had "disappeared" by the time this movie was made, so had most of this film disappeared by War's end.  Only this 16 minute rare fragment exists.  The completed film itself did not live up to the expectations of the Lagerkommandant, who wanted a masterpiece, but had to settle for something less, when he abruptly ordered a quick ending to the filming in the late summer of 1944:   after reports about the liberation of Lublin and the extermination camp Majdanek in July 1944 started leaking out to the West, Commandant Rahm wanted the film quickly distributed for the purpose of "damage control".  The discovery of mass graves and Zyklon B did not make the movie superflous, however, and Rahm need not have worried about rushing the film to the theatres:  most Westerners did not believe the Russians' reports about the extermination camps in the East.  Were it not for historical hindsight and the Jewish stars sewn on the garments of the "actors", the viewer of this film would think it was simply a kitschy film about village life in Europe.  Watch closely, however:  within months of the completion of the filming of this fragment, almost everyone seen in the film would be deported to Auschwitz and gassed.  Good quality film, some softness;
Sturmsoldaten der Luft  (1944):  Another good quality, 15 minute film about German paratroopers;
Heimkehr ins Reich  (1944):  This 12 minute film has no sound, but, for the most part, good quality film detailing the annexations of Austria, the Sudetenland, Bohmen und Mahren and the Memelland.  Not quite sure why they waited until 1944 to film the events, but history was to provide an ironic epilogue to the film:  in less than a year's time, those who marched into and resettled these areas would be returning as refugees fleeing the Red Army on their heels.
REGION FREE (will play in any DVD player).