Filming Women in the Third Reich
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In 1936, Goebbels stated that 'a government that controls art will remain forever', and the German film industry became inextricably linked with National Socialist propaganda. This book is an historical evaluation of the role and image of women in the feature films of the Third Reich. The author challenges current perceptions of the National Socialist position with regards to women and examines the creation of a female film culture, as well as the 'blurring' of gender distinctions as a result of the war.
Goebbels and his wife personally selected young movie actresses at their home to portray mothers, vamps, girls-next-door and exotic love interests. His interest in film opens up an array of important issues central to this book: Were women compliant with Nazism or were they the victims of a regime imposing policies ultimately detrimental to their condition? Is it true that the war helped to emancipate women who were not only romantic and patriotic heroines on screen but employed as drivers, technicians and even managers of government affiliated film departments? Did all films produced under the auspices of the Third Reich serve as propaganda and if so, how successful were they? And finally, what can the study of cinema contribute to the historical debate surrounding National Socialism?
This book fills a considerable gap in the research of the Nazi star system and makes a crucial contribution not only to cinema history, but also to our view of the perceived role of women in the Third Reich.
Dr Susan Tegel, who assisted my work on the films of Veit Harlan and shared much of her own research with me. I am particularly grateful to Professor Jeremy Noakes and Professor Richard Taylor for their insightful comments on the manuscript. I would also like to thank Lawrence Rees of the BBC for helping me to locate the film stars of the Third Reich. Although this line of enquiry proved unsuccessful, he was always willing to offer his time and experience. Berg has been extraordinarily helpful in
mustn’t talk of dying. It is not so near. Father: Yes, unfortunately it is. I don’t want to leave this beautiful earth at all. That is true. People get ever more old, their legs ever more cold, and then death is the conclusion to life. The young can die, but the old must. Reinhardt meanwhile prepares for his departure, and his new life, telling Elisabeth, ‘don’t be angry. We don’t have time. Tomorrow, I’ll be in Hamburg, at the Conservatoire. Tomorrow, life begins.’ Elisabeth recognises
whilst reporting a story, Michael reviews his commitments. Franziska, meanwhile, has been considering divorce, due to Michael’s lengthy absences. Michael finally discovers that his true mission in life is to be with his family and leaves his employment. However, war is to separate the couple once again. Michael receives his call-up papers, as a PK reporter. This time, Franziska urges him to go, stressing that this is not work: it is his duty. She cancels the divorce action and accompanies Michael
rubbish,” he decided.’34 Nevertheless, Jacoby was intent on casting Rökk in the double role, using a stand-in for the profile of the second Terry sister. Peter Kreuder, the composer of the film score, recalled that the Rökk double was taken from a concentration camp, although Kreuder justified that she was not returned there after the conclusion of filming.35 The film traces the fateful story of the Terry sisters, which begins at the Odean Music Hall, where they were performing their acrobatic
race and the deferment of personal desires. We must develop our bodies and our spiritual sensitivities so that we can carry out our purpose, which is to rear honourable farmers and farmer’s wives. Our Reich Agriculture Minister, Darré, has helped lead us to victory over the false Gods of economy and the market. Our place is secure on our hereditary farms. We must show our gratitude by fulfilling our duties.80 The women themselves, however, regarded the profession, not as the idyllic and