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I once heard that Disney's marketing department was concerned about how
Mickey Mouse was depicted in 1995's Runaway Brain, because Mickey's brain
was switched with an evil brain, making Mickey a rampaging villain in the
cartoon. I wonder what they would think if they had to market Der Fuehrer's
Face with Donald Duck wearing a Nazi uniform and, at one point, resembling
Hitler. Of course, this isn't the real Donald (as it wasn't the real Mickey
in Runaway Brain); it was all a bad dream for Donald. However, the image
alone of Donald in `Nutzi Land' is somewhat shocking.
Nevertheless, Der Fuehrer's Face exhibits some of the greatest gags I've seen in any cartoon. In Donald's nightmare, he has to do some odd exercises that contort his body into a swastika-like shape. His cuckoo clock bird looks like Hitler as he comes out of the clock doing a Heil Hitler salute. And poor Donald is forced to work in an ammunition factory where he has to salute Hitler every time he sees his picture, which is about after every other ammunition shell. It's just so surprising to seeing Hitler and the Nazis being made fun of in this way, in a cartoon no less, you can't help but laugh.
Finally Donald wakes up in his red, white, and blue pajamas and is relieved to see his Statue of Liberty souvenir and realizing he's always lived in the `good, old United States of America.' This cartoon is really quite a sight to see. It makes fun of the enemy, gives people a good laugh, and displays some great patriotism. A great cartoon, in my opinion, even if it borders on controversial nowadays. It's a product of its time, and it's just a fine piece of entertainment.
My IMDb Rating: 10/10
In this marvelously surreal and funny short, Donald Duck is a subject of Nazi Germany, forced to make munitions for the Reich. He has to endure abysmal food rations (wooden bread, Aroma of Bacon and Eggs, and coffee brewed from a single bean), superhuman workloads, 30 seconds of forced calisthenics for his "vacation", and an unrelenting barrage of Hitler portraits which he must hail unfailingly - or else! It's all too much for Donald, who has a nervous breakdown, and the film disintegrates into a bizarre phantasmagoria of dancing missiles and stomping boots. Thankfully, it was all just a bad dream, and Donald is relieved to see that the hailing shadow on the wall is cast by his Statue of Liberty on the window sill. As he kisses it he proclaims, wearing his star-spangled jammies, "Am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America." This cartoon, perhaps the most savagely satirical Disney ever made, was a sensation in its day, winning the Oscar and spawning a hit song. After the war, however, it was shelved and kept out of public circulation - and not without reason. Now it has been released on DVD as part of the excellent Walt Disney Treasures collection, "Walt Disney on the Front Lines", for discerning film buffs to enjoy. Many will find it disquieting to see a beloved American icon wearing a brownshirt uniform with swastika armband, hailing pictures of Hitler, and goose stepping to work; but then, Donald doesn't seem too thrilled about it, either. In no way does this cartoon promote Nazism. Instead, it punctures its pretensions of superiority by reducing its brutality to absurd slapstick, turning its Ubermensch into buffoonish caricatures. (Bear in mind that at the time of this cartoon the true extent of Hitler's inhumanity was unknown to the Allied countries.) As Mel Brooks has noted, the best way to deal with monsters like Hitler is to laugh at them. So go ahead and laugh, laugh, right at Der Fuehrer's Face.
The first time I saw screen caps of this short cartoon, I didn't know
what to think. Then I saw it, and realized how clever those guys at
I won't really give anything away (it's about Donald Duck working for the Nazis, and in true Disney style, comes to a cute ending), but you should just see it yourself. It's a superb example of how bad the Nazi soldiers were treated and overworked mixed with comedy. About finding it, you can download it off a few internet joke sites (someone of an IMDb thread for this movie posted a link from steak and cheese DOT COM), and it was recently released as part of a Disney box set of War-time shorts commemorating the WWII era. It's also available in a lot of college libraries, in a 16mm print.
My rating: 10/10 (a pretty good cartoon poking fun at the WWII political state).
Der Fueher's Face is a masterpiece of a cartoon and It's my favorite cartoon from Donald Duck. It shows how crazy the Nazi invasion was by showing what happens to a duck in that situation. Not only is it well done, it gives kids a look into the craziness that was World War 2. One of the best cartoon's ever made.
In World War II, a marching band playing "Der Fuehrer's Face" passes by
Donald Duck's house. He awakes, has a poor breakfast with stale bread.
Then he goes to an army factory where he works in the production of
ammunition brainwashed by the Nazi propaganda. Donald Duck has a
nervous breakdown with the stressed situation but when he awakes, he
finds that he had a nightmare and he actually lives in United States of
The historical cartoon "Der Fuehrer's Face" is an effective and caustic propaganda in times of war. Despite being dated in 2009, the despair of Donald Duck is still a hilarious fun against the Nazism and tyranny of Hitler. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): Not Available
WWII-era filmmakers used two broad approaches when attempting to
discredit Adolf Hitler and Germany in general. The first, and least
interesting in my view, was to treat them with the utmost seriousness,
painting the Nazis are perverted, sadistic and evil baby-killers, and
the like. Secondly, there was the comedic approach, by which Hitler was
belittled through having entire audiences laughing in his face. 'The
Great Dictator (1940)' and 'To Be or Not to Be (1942)' accomplish this
hilariously well, but what about the younger demographics? To help
communicate the evils of Nazism to children, the Walt Disney cartoon
'Der Fuhrer's Face (1942)' tosses Donald Duck (voiced by Clarence Nash)
amid Hitler's militaristic regime, where he slaves away for "48 hours a
day" in a munitions factory, continually bombarded with the swastika
symbol and the phrase "heil Hitler!" At the end of the cartoon, after a
surreal montage of Nazi (or "Nutzi," as the film says) oppression,
Donald wakes up in America, thankfully sighing "am I glad to be a
citizen of the United States of America."
Despite winning an Oscar in 1943 for Best Short Subject Cartoon, 'Der Fuehrer's Face' was rarely seen following the end of the war. As the atrocities of Hitler's "Final Solution" came to light, the Nazi badge quickly became something, not to be merely ridiculed, but to be loathed. Nevertheless, the sheer audacity of Jack Kinney's cartoon has to be seen to be believed. There's hardly a frame in which the swastika is not visible in one form or another, and Donald is ludicrously forced to bark "Heil Hitler" whenever he comes across a photograph of the Fuhrer. The cartoon's climax is a dizzyingly-surreal montage in which anthropomorphised Nazi machinery relentlessly beats Donald into submission. It's all a little disconcerting, as was its intention, but it's also a lot of fun. Also featured is Oliver Wallace's song "Der Fuehrer's Face," which was covered by Spike Jones and His City Slickers with great success. Indeed, the name of this cartoon was changed from "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land" to capitalise on the song's popularity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Before the era of Political Correctness, Disney made some good
animation. The World War II shorts were no exception.
I noticed some of the PC crowd mislabeled this short as being pro-Nazi, because it shows Donald Duck working for the Nazi. NOT TRUE! Sure, he does work for them, but against his will. And all is revealed to be a dream and Donald is thankful of living in America.
I also like the very end part were Hitler gets a tomato thrown in his face.
Get Disney's "On the Front Lines" collection for good historical WWII shorts.
This short won an Academy Award and should have! An exceptionally tough cartoon to see, as it's most difficult to find. Disney, with some understandable reluctance, has not made this available. While understandable, I don't agree with the choice they've made here. This cartoon should be seen, it should be widely available and is a big part of the Golden Age of Disney. Qute probably the best theatrical short Disney ever made (certainly the best that I've seen) and it's unfortunate that DIsney has clearly consigned it to the vaults. I fervently hope they change their minds. My highest recommendation here. Worth the trouble to locate and should be in print!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
*The SPOILERS' Face*
The short begins with a Nazi band - with Hirohito, Mussolini (who wittily states 'We would leave if we could'), an enormous Nazi, a very tall and lanky Nazi and a very effeminate Nazi singing the title song, which basically makes fun of Hitler.
Cut to Donald Duck, who lives in a minuscule house in this 'Nutziland' where EVERYTHING either is Swastika-shaped or refers to Hitler (including clouds and picket fences). Also his house is decorated in the 'Hitler style' (the Hitler-cuckoo is a hoot!).
After having gotten dressed in paper clothes and hat, Donald manages to eat a slice of bread so hard it requires a saw to cut, drink coffee made from one single bean and spray 'Aroma of Bacon and Eggs' down his throat, before the Nazi band makes him read the Mein Kampf - to 'improve his mind' - before coming to get him to work.
Donald is a 'willing worker of Nutziland' who has to work 48 hours a day for the Fuehrer making shells, and having to salute Hitler's image at the same time.
He gets a 'vacation mit pay' working out obsessively in front of an image of the Alps. The poor guy gets bombarded with Nazi propaganda, and ends up being 'chosen' by special degree of the Fuehrer to work overtime.
Eventually, he goes insane and hallucinates various things, among whom switching places with the shells, the Nazi orchestra made of shells, and even himself as Hitler, being saluted by a shell, as the song 'The Fuehrer's Face' keeps on being played faster and faster, until...
Donald wakes up from the Nazi nightmare and realizes he is safe in America.
Awesome, awesome short where Disney openly makes fun of Hitler's insanity. An Academy Award-winner classic not to miss!
The Fuehrer's Face: 9/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite this cartoon being about WWII, it is still a great cartoon here
in the 21st century. That's because unlike some American propaganda
cartoons of the era, this one is so funny and well-made that it still
is a super-impressive film.
The film begins in a surreal world where Spike Jones' song, Der Fuehrer's Face, is being blared everywhere by a group of bumbling Nazis. In the middle of this awful world is poor Donald Duck--who is being forced at gunpoint to heil the Fuehrer and make munitions for the Axis at an alarming rate. The film becomes much sillier and weirder, as Donald goes faster and faster until he becomes mentally unhinged! This is absolutely hilarious. The cartoon ends with Donald awakening to find it's all a bad dream. he's back in the good old USA and life is good.
Inventive, cute and a lot more fun than other Disney shorts, this is the absolute height of Disney's creative talents. Plus, it's a wonderful history lesson!
UPDATE--When I first wrote this review, it was practically impossible to find this cartoon, as "politically correct" types had buried all the cartoons at Disney and Warner Brothers because they might offend--even films that show evil Nazis (after all, children can never see ANYONE as evil or see a swastika). Fortunately, the short WAS re-released with the recent Volume 2 of the Best of Donald from Disney. This multi-disk set is terrific--not just for this cartoon, but for all of them. Buy it now, as it's only scheduled to be on sale for a limited time AND volume one is already sold out everywhere. My only reservation is that Disney is so concerned about political correctness that there's a very long prologue by Leonard Maltin that you are forced to first watch--you cannot skip it. And, if you go back to see other "banned" films, it makes you watch the Maltin segment again! Annoying, but a small price to pay to see these wonderful films.
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