As noted in Hitler’s Hollywood, a fascinating documentary by Rüdiger Suchsland, the Third Reich’s “primary means of communication with the masses” was film — not Twitter. Now available in DVD format from Kino Lorber (kinolorber.com), Hitler’s Hollywood provides a thorough survey of the films, directors and stars during the Hitler era. Suchsland’s script — narrated by renowned German actor Udo Kier — informs viewers that “Nazi cinema was show business, exaggerated — it sometimes feels as if everything was one big film.” The film industry was tightly controlled by Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. Apart from vicious anti-Semitic films, such as Jud Süß (Jew Süss), by Veit Harlan, in 1940, the Nazi era film fare, from 1933-1945, was heavy on escapist comedies, musicals and melodramas. Hitler’s Hollywood probes the question:“What does cinema know that we don’t?” and the answers resonate in our current political predicament.— Mordecai Specktor
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