Film and Propaganda: The Lessons of the Nazi Film Industry

Reason Papers 35 (1):203-219 (2013)
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This essay is my review of Erwin Leiser’s excellent documentary film Germany Awake. This classic film first aired in Germany in 1968, and remains to this day one of the best surveys of major Nazi-era movies and exactly what messages they were meant to convey. The film underscores the emphasis the regime put on film as one of the premier mechanisms of propaganda, though Leiser’s film points out that most of the cinema produced by the Nazi regime was not pure propaganda, but mainly entertainment. In the review, I put forward a list of criteria for evaluating the degree of the deceptiveness of propaganda, and why cinema is so apt to exploit those criteria.
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