The Collaboration

The Collaboration

Hollywood's Pact With Hitler

Book - 2013
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Explores "how Hollywood and especially the big studios went along with German demands to censor movies not only before but especially after the Nazi seizure of power"--Back of dust jacket.
"To continue doing business in Germany after Hitler's ascent to power, Hollywood studios agreed not to make films that attacked the Nazis or condemned Germany's persecution of Jews. Ben Urwand reveals this bargain for the first time--a 'collaboration' (Zusammenarbeit) that drew in a cast of characters ranging from notorious German political leaders such as Goebbels to Hollywood icons such as Louis B. Mayer. At the center of Urwand's story is Hitler himself, who was obsessed with movies and recognized their power to shape public opinion. In December 1930, his Party rioted against the Berlin screening of All Quiet on the Western Front, which led to a chain of unfortunate events and decisions. Fearful of losing access to the German market, all of the Hollywood studios started making concessions to the German government, and when Hitler came to power in January 1933, the studios--many of which were headed by Jews--began dealing with his representatives directly. Urwand shows that the arrangement remained in place through the 1930s, as Hollywood studios met regularly with the German consul in Los Angeles and changed or canceled movies according to his wishes. Paramount and Fox invested profits made from the German market in German newsreels, while MGM financed the production of German armaments. Painstakingly marshaling previously unexamined archival evidence, The Collaboration raises the curtain on a hidden episode in Hollywood--and American--history."--Jacket.
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013
ISBN: 9780674724747
0674724747
9780674088108
0674088107
Branch Call Number: 791.43 URWAND
Characteristics: 327 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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jeffreymanley
Mar 22, 2014

This is a good book about an interesting subject. It is well researched and well written. I read through it in 3 or 4 sittings. But it reads as if it is written as a brief for the prosecution of the movie studies. They may deserve to be prosecuted but as the production of a university press, one expects a more balanced presentation. To take one example, the author notes that by the late 1930s only two US studios were still doing business in Germany (MGM and 20th Century Fox) and they continued to kow-tow to the Nazis in certain decision making in order to preserve their position in the market. Meanwhile the other studios had either been thrown out of the German market or left voluntarily. Yet, nothing much is said about the sort of productions they were making relating to Nazi Germany. From all appearances, their output wasn't much different from the two companies whose German facilities survived. Were these banned studios censored by the production code or the Anti-defamation League's own desires not to inflame US antisemitism by producing anti-Nazi films, both topics that are mentioned by the book but not as to how they applied to the banned studios? Or were they producing anti-Nazi films that are simply ignored by the author? I don't know the answer and it seems to me that I should after reading this book.

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