Inside Nazi Germany

BW, 16 min., mono sound, released Jan. 21, 1938, as volume 4, issue 6, by the March of Time

PRODUCER: Louis de Rochemont
DIRECTOR: Jack Glenn

This controversial film was produced by the March of Time as a single-subject newsreel for its January 1938 monthly release. It has been called "the first commercially released anti-Nazi American motion picture" (Fielding, p. 201). It began with raw footage shot by Julien Bryan in Germany. However, the content of the film was bland and disappointing. Jack Glenn filmed re-enactments, using anti-Nazi German-Americans living in Hoboken, NJ. These fake scenes included military training, propaganda, censoring mail, listening to Hitler on radio, collecting money, political prisoners, concentration camps. Tom Orchard arranged for some charwomen working in March of Time's New York office building to pose as Catholic nuns in jail, filmed through makeshift jail bars cut out of cardboard in front of the camera lens. Glenn persuaded American pro-Nazi Fritz Kuhn to stage some scenes in his German-American Bund office. When Kuhn discovered he had been tricked, Walter Winchell reported that he was recorded screaming "I will be ruint. Ruint!" at a screening in the March of Time building.

The mixture of real and fake images was accompanied by an anti-Nazi narration, ending with the following: "Nazi Germany faces her destiny with one of the great war machines in history. And the inevitable destiny of the great war machines of the past has been to destroy the peace of the world, its people, and the governments of their time."

The anti-Nazi narration sometimes conflicted with the pro-Nazi pictures. Warner Bros. refused to exhibit the picture in any of its 200 theaters because Jack Warner thought in was pro-Nazi. But David Selznick praised it as "one of the greatest and most important reels in the history of pictures" (Fielding, p. 199). It has been selected by the Librarian of Congress for the National Film Registry.


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