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379 Appendix Quotes on Harlan Sabine Hake, film historian: “Only one other director besides Riefenstahl was able to develop a unique filmic vision in full accordance with Nazi ideology : Veit Harlan. . . . Harlan . . . often relied on realist and naturalist authors in presenting his simple views about biology as destiny. . . . Stylistically, Harlan aimed at a level of intensification and exaggeration that, from the use of ethereal music to the heavy colour symbolism, endowed even idyllic rural settings with an aura of artificiality, decadence and, ironically, degeneracy.”1 Laura J. Heins, media studies professor: “The Nazi director Veit Harlan was also the Third Reich’s most stylistically excessive filmmaker, one whose films were fraught with ambiguities and ruptures. . . . Similar to Sirk in Hollywood, Harlan was the Third Reich’s main color stylist, using flowers, dresses, and interiors to convey symbolic intentions. . . . Harlan’s work may indeed lend some support to the concept of excess as posing a potential threat to fascist aesthetics, confirming excess as the unintentional, possibly toxic byproduct of the fascist attempt to be both beautiful and political.”2 Wolf Donner, film critic and Berlin Film Festival director: “Veit Harlan is one of the most dazzling figures of Nazi cinema. A superior aesthete, melodramatist, craftsman, a master of pathos and kitsch, of sentimental emotional outbursts and dramatic effects.”3 Norbert Grob, film critic and Fritz Lang biographer: “Veit Harlan had what is called a cinematic imagination: a feeling for light and spaces into which a story is played out, a sense of rhythm, a feeling for landscapes, sets, and small things around the story. Harlan had clear visual ideas and was obsessed with realizing them exactly the way he wanted.”4 Bucher’s Encyclopedia of Film: “As one of the most able directors of the German cinema with a strong affinity for melodrama and death-courting Appendix 380 mysticism . . . [Harlan] persistently discredited himself with his readiness to spread fascist ideology in numerous films.”5 Will Tremper, journalist and filmmaker: “If Jürgen Fehling was the greatest theater director of the Third Reich—such wrote anyone who should have known—then Harlan was the greatest film director, the most gifted for the medium, but nobody was writing this anymore after 1945. . . . The man had a sure hand for effects, each time leaving his audiences agitated, in tears.”6 Kurt Kreuger, actor in a dozen Hollywood anti-Nazi films: “I was good friends with Veit Harlan. I’ve often been to his house near Starnberg and liked him very much. He always called me ‘my boy.’ I have really known him as a nice man. He was completely different from what I had expected. The press, alas, was not very friendly to him. But he was a pleasant director.”7 Harald Juhnke, actor: “To me, Harlan seemed obsessed. An obsessed filmmaker who might as well have worked under Stalin or Idi Amin as he did under Goebbels.”8 Dr. Fritz Hippler, Reichsfilmintendant (head of the Film Division of the Propaganda Ministry): “Whenever we had a conversation about whatever subject, this quickly turned into a heated argument. . . . Pulling his wild mane, articulating his opinion and emotion in a pathetic manner, Veit wandered restlessly through the room, from time to time stretching all fours while seated in the fauteuil, as if he were desperate, exhausted, and burned out, only to take another run. . . . With this impetuous force he also overran his actors, who under his direction had to give up their own will, having to follow his vision alone.”9 Gustav Knuth, actor: “Never did he denounce or betray anyone. To the contrary: he has protected colleagues and friends who were in danger. I myself had many discussions with him, although I knew about his affirmative attitude to the Third Reich.”10 GünterPfitzmann,actor:“Intheendhewas theonlyonetobebranded as a token Nazi. . . . This was convenient to many—because it distracted from their own bad deeds.”11 Christiane Kubrick, niece: “I knew him well as a child and liked him because he was very funny. My father and Veit wanted to join a circus when they were kids. The first man who reminded me very much of Veit was Peter Ustinov; he is a similar wisecracker.”12 David Stewart Hull, film historian: “His surface jollity covered a dark, Quotes on Harlan 381 sadistic-satanic streak in his character which managed to show itself frequently in his films. His works show the hand of a dedicated craftsman, but the final touch of genius is lacking.”13 Carl Raddatz...


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