Of recent historical events, few events have been so searing, and thus so difficult to depict faithfully both in nature and scope in film, than the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis. This film tells the story of Hollywood's approach to the subject, starting with its initial pre-war reluctance to alienate the lucrative German market. With World War II, and the discovery of the Nazi horrors, we follow Hollywood's reaction over the decades to the atrocity. Challenged with a tragedy that beggared the imagination of artists and audiences, Hollywood grew from trying to keep it in the abstract to striving to depict it head-on in ways that would be both truthful and respectful with the proper humanity. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For over a half a century Hollywood films have dealt with Nazism and the Holocaust in complex and often contradictory ways. Marked by outrage and indifference, compassion and ignorance, the need to understand and the desire to forget. And yet while this most horrific chapter in modern world history happened far from America's shores, it has been American movies, perhaps more than any other medium, that have shaped how we understand and remember these events.
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An ineffable experience only understood by those that survived the camps.
An outstanding account of the atrocities that happened in Germany, and Hollywood's dealing with in in light of the makeup of Hollywood, the acceptable mores of the times, the House Un-American witch hunt, and other factors.
It was interesting that television led the way in presenting the Holocaust with a guest on "This is Your Life" being the first instance. After a weak Anne Frank movie, TV returns with Judgement at Nuremberg on "Playhouse 90" in 1959. The fact that one of the sponsors was The American Gas Company muted the effort.
But, Hollywood soon began to get it right. It was after The Holocaust, an 8 hour miniseries was aired and survivors began telling their stories.
How Hollywood handled this tragic part of history is an interesting story and part of a body of knowledge that will help in viewing these films.
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