The 1930s and the 1940s were a turbulent time for both Europe and the United States, but more so in the nation of Germany. As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, Hollywood is wanting to hold onto that market for film. Researcher Ben Urwand breaks down the image of the Golden Age of Hollywood and exposes the lengths movie studios went to appease the Third Reich before World War 2 broke out.
From the description,
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.
Illuminating is the best way to describe this book. Using archives and interviews, Urwand shows how Hollywood caved to Nazi Germany, rewriting scripts, reshooting scenes, and even recasting Jewish actors for important parts. There was dissension with several wanting to speak out against the abuses of the Third Reich, but they were bullied, intimidated, and silenced by powerful figures in the entertainment industry. It goes to show that Hollywood has always been about one thing: money. Sure, individuals want to fight abuse, but the overall industry would rather bend the knee to Hitler than lose their cash cow.
This book was an entry on my reading list for 2021. Will you add it to yours?
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