Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hitler: The Comedy Years (2007)

Director: Jacques Peretti

Writer: Jacques Peretti

Composer: ???

Starring: Peter Thompson, Richard Wiseman, Steve Punt, David Croft, Arthur Mathews, Neil McCaul, Guy Siner, Richard Gibson, Gareth Marks, Peter Richardson

More info: IMDb

Plot: A film about the most influential man in British comedy. For fifty years, Nazis and Nazism have been a mainstay of British comedy, providing material for everyone from Monty Python and Spike Milligan to Freddie Starr and even Prince Harry. This documentary looks at the comedic portrayals of Nazis in general and Adolf Hitler in particular.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again?  Probably.

With what looks like a greatest hits of Hitler-centric funny clips from (mostly) British TV shows and films, you learn quiet a bit.  For instance, did you know that in 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain Britain's great comedy writers to come up with material that ridiculed Adolph Hitler?  Why (and this is the interesting part)?  Because such an imposing man and war machine posed a psychological threat to the people of England.  If they could get people to laugh at Hitler, their spirits would remain higher than if they didn't.  Neat-O.  They even doctored up photos to show him in embarrassing positions (not by my standards...I'd gladly pose for these shots).

There are lots of clips and images from various TV shows and films as examples and we get to see the stages of Hitler funny throughout the decades which is interesting.  They do get off track a little talking about Nazisploitation films like THE NIGHT PORTER (1974) and the like.  I would have preferred this short 48-minute film to stay focused on the funny but it's hardly something that will have you turning your nose up.  The narration script is often clever and funny, too.  It'll probably leave you satisfied but wanting more or give you the feeling you had too much.  But how about that awesome title?  I knew nothing about this going in.  I just saw the title and knew I couldn't pass it up.  I'm glad I didn't.

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