Inglorious Basterds & Hollywood’s Love Affair With Hitler

Hollywood loves Hitler.

They love to use him as a villain and as well they should. He was an evil man.

Hitler and his Nazi’s are THE perfect plot device. Their evil needs no pesky back story and their defeat invokes zero criticism, at least none from respectable sources.

Brad Pitt stars in Inglorious Basterds.

Brad Pitt stars in Inglorious Basterds.

In 2008. Hollywood gave us the serious Valkyrie. As soon as that somewhat bombastic flick hit theaters, Land of Punt gave it the sardonic tagline, “the movie that dared to call Hitler evil.”

This summer Quentin Tarantino’s new film (live-action cartoon), Inglorious Basterds, chronicles a fictional (of course) platoon of Jewish soldiers bent on killing Nazi’s and eventually Hitler.

In this alternate WWII, the Jewish band of brothers not only kill Nazi’s but scalp them too. This is completely ridiculous as no army in 1944 could effectively deal with the logistics of storing and transporting human body parts. The scalping is probably why one critic called the film “a Jewish male fantasy of killing Nazi’s.”

Some of you are probably wondering why we’re mentioning this. Who cares if Hollywood uses Hitler as a quick and easy way to representative evil… time and time again?

Most everyone will welcome movies that negatively depict Hitler. One might suggest Hollywood can make six million anti-Hitler movies–one for every victim of the Holocaust.

Others, like LOP’s girlfriend, Shangri-La, view Hollywood and its movies as nothing more than a way to kill three hours on a Saturday. Shangri constantly accuses Land of Punt of giving Hollywood way too much influence.

However, Hollywood’s love affair with Hitler isn’t beyond reproach.

The problem is it’s so easy for Hollywood to use Hitler and the Nazis as bad guys that they dehumanize their evil. The convenience Hitler offers Hollywood detracts from the full impact of his evil.

There’s a line from a movie (not about WWII) that sums up Hollywood’s attitude towards Hitler, “kill one to save thousands.”

In Hollywood’s warped morality, it’s Hitler and Hitler alone that terrorized Europe. Yet, the dictator would have never had an opportunity if not for the complicity of the German people and the cowardice of Europe. In other words, he wasn’t alone and killing him may or may not have saved thousands (millions).

basterdsposter

While Hitler may have been pure evil from the moment he left the womb, his rise to der Führer was complex. He didn’t just flip a switch and slaughter million of innocence souls. It was far more complex than that. In fact , every segment of German society was involved in the Holocaust.

Meanwhile, the Allies didn’t go to war to stop the Holocaust, they went to war to liberate Europe from German tyranny. Most soldiers and citizens of the world learned of the atrocities perpetrated against Jews only after the war was over.

In 1942, the U.S. Military decided not to release information about concentration camps for fear of making the war about liberating Jews. In 1943, reports about gassing jews were broadcasted to the Netherlands but they were so unfathomable everyone assumed it was propaganda. Furthermore, reports in an illegal Dutch newspaper about the horrors occurring at camps were halted as many believed it hurt the resistance effort.

Then there are thousands of other factors, issues and questions that are way beyond the scope of this article. Sadly, hardly any of these facets are ever tackled by Hollywood. Instead, Hitler and his denizens are presented as one-dimensional evil. Quick and easy bad guys with little to no context and little to no explanation.

This is important because society wants to avoid a repeat of Hitler. Obviously, Hollywood wants a sequel.

Luckily, people aren’t as simple or as ignorant as Hollywood makes them out to be. The wise, the well-read and the educated know the world’s history alluded to in this article and volumes more. Perhaps these voices of reasons are enough to remind us that evil is far more complex than what we see in a movie.

Hollywood, which is practically incapable of complexities, seems resigned to stick with quick and easy evil. The kind that’s safe and cliche. How else do you explain why Hollywood hasn’t made a movie that denounces the evil of socialism, radical environmentalism or radical Islam?

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