Based on the popular book:
It was a smash follow-up to the equally smashious "Education for Gravely Wounding." Both were combined into one powerful action-packed day-brightener called . . .
Yes, Johann and Johnanness and Gretl and Hans and the whole gang! They're all here! Well, no. It's a drama about the way the Chermun Peoples perverted their own kids, turned them into Nazibots, and got them running to the Night Rallies:
Not exactly Trimph of the Will in scale and scope, but nicely shot. As a whole, it's well done - if this was a blatant and motivational as the big-studio propaganda got, they had a lot to learn from the boys over at UFA. Not a leering sputtering madman in the bunch, really - just cold, cruel, oh-so-civilized men in dress-up costumes doing horrible things. It begins in an American school, where a Yank prof teaches a mixed bag of kids, including an American-born boy rasied in Germany and a German-born girl raised in America. Or vice versa. Can't quite recall, but you know how that's going to turn out. She goes to German reeducation camps; he joins the Nazis and turns into little Mister Goosestep. Meanwhile, the teacher hangs around long enough to get object lessons in the Glories of the State from Colonel Lippenpressen:
They're watching an "operation," which is really just medical experimentation. The camerawork is spooky and unnerving - silent white-clad doctors wheel victim after victim through shadowy, modern corridors:
The film has its share of set-piece arguments, including one between a Nazi chief and a kindly priest.
As usual, you're caught wondering how anyone could be swayed by someone with such an absurd moustache.
Will the Nazi boy find his conscience at the end in time to rescue Germany? Well, no. Of course not. We know how that one went. Will he save the classmate to whom he has pledged his love, and who ends up in an adjacent cell while they're waiting for thier show trial? Well, he does seem anguished by his life choices:
In the end, his teacher hears the young lovers' fate over a series of loudspeakers erected by the State Committee for Plot-Enabling Devices, and it's a corker. Because of course the Nazis put the show trial on the air, live, without quite knowing how it will turn out.
If it rolls around on TCM, watch it. You've probably seen a million Nazi movies, but this one's different. Not a spy movie. Not a war movie. It's a look at domestic Germany - the enemy at home - made during the time when the conflict was hottest, which makes its restraint all the more interesting, and gives it the feel of credible, decent propaganda. Which it was. Who says that's a bad thing when you're up against those bastards?