The Collaboration

The Collaboration

Hollywood's Pact With Hitler

Book - 2013
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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.

Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013
ISBN: 9780674724747
0674724747
Branch Call Number: PN1993.5.G3 U79 2013
Characteristics: 327 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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Derringer
Oct 19, 2018

When giving the premise of Ben Urwand's book "The Collaboration" some serious consideration, you really have to take what he claims to be true with a huge grain of salt.

Yes. I have no doubt that there was some validity to what Urwand states about a collaboration between Hollywood studios and the Nazis, but I refuse to believe that it was as widespread as he wants the reader to believe that it was.

m
ManMachine
Sep 21, 2018

The story that you are about to read in Ben Urwand's fascinating book "The Collaboration" is, indeed, absolutely unbelievable, yet, it's, apparently, 100% true.

In a nutshell - This book's story goes like this - When that vile, despicable monster, Adolf Hitler came into power in 1933 all major Hollywood studios (many headed by Jews) began making serious concessions to the German government, agreeing not to produce any films that either attacked the ruthless Nazis or condemned Germany's hateful persecution of the Jews.

What you will be reading in "The Collaboration" are all of the details that Urwand had uncovered, regarding this truly shocking agreement between Hollywood and that slime-ball, Hitler.

j
Janice21383
Sep 20, 2018

As a companion to The Collaboration, I would suggest readers look at this review by longtime journalist and film critic David Denby, or other skeptical reviews. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/how-could-harvard-have-published-ben-urwands-the-collaboration The film industry was no more guilty of collaborating with the Nazis than any other (in fact less than many: finance, arms manufacturing, resources, etc.) They wanted to continue to show their films in Germany, and not to provoke an international incident; in which they were encouraged by the U.S. government. Urwand's take is not exactly wrong, but it is exaggerated. For further balance, I recommend Steven J. Ross's Hitler In Los Angeles, which leans the other way.

a
AQUILEA777
Aug 03, 2018

I have not read this book, but its premise sounds bogus. From 1935-onward, films were heavily censored for showing here for all kinds of silly reasons. Scenes were cut and some films were banned altogether in certain areas. Some localities required cuts of material considered too frightening, or that showed criminality of social leaders, from the 1936 US-made Karloff film THE WALKING DEAD. Compare Wikipedia entry for the British film NO ORCHIDS FOR MISS BLANDISH, which American critics considered outrageous in 1949 even after cutting, but seems very tame today. Censors reviewed scripts and specified cuts all the time; there are countless examples. The film studios were used to accommodating many complaining groups; that was the normal way everything was done. Frivolous censorship permeated the industry. The studios wanted to sell a product and had to satisfy the consumers and their self-appointed bluenose protectors. Accommodating the Germans would have been business as usual, not some special sinister collaboration.

j
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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