Sunday, 8 March 2009

Jack Kinney "Der Fuehrer's Face" (Disney)

When der Fuehrer says, "We ist der master race"/ We HEIL! (phhht!) HEIL! (phhht!)/ Right in der Fuehrer's face/ Not to love Der Fuehrer is a great disgrace/ So we HEIL! (phhht!) HEIL! (phhht!)/ Right in der Fuehrer's face....../ Are we not the supermen/ Aryan pure supermen/ Ja we ist der supermen/ Super-duper supermen./ Ist this Nutzi land not good?/ Would you leave it if you could?/ Ja this Nutzi land is good!/ Wee would leave it if we could.
With one of the funniest ever songs in a cartoon the Fascist "oom-pah" band awakens Donald Duck the hero of Jack Kinney's glorious Academy Award winning short, Der Fuehrer's Face. The band are figures of fun, inflated buffoons who parade through Donald's house forcing him to work in the munitions factory where he endlessly screws the tops on a myriad shells of various shapes and sizes, saluting the many portraits of the Führer that appear on the assembly line, harangued by loudspeakers and bayonets, whilst the infectious, pounding song (Oliver Wallace) carries on extolling the virtues of life under Hitler. Swastikas abound, the alarm clock, the sails of the windmill, the tags on the window blind: they festoon the landscape around Donald's house, arrayed in lines like crosses at a military cemetery. When the leader decrees workers should have a vacation a backdrop of the alps is displayed, the worker stands for the required pose and it is back to compulsory overtime. When it all gets too much to bear, Donald wakes up to discover he is back in the land of the free. It is difficult to think of a more effective propaganda movie. Or such a funny one as the Nazis are mocked, parodied, ridiculed. The raspberry sound the chorus makes is a constant source of fun. I am unable to equate one propaganda movie to so many squadrons of Sherman tanks, but the value of this movie at a time of peril to uplift the nation's spirits must have been immense. Times have changed when it comes to satirising the enemy though not so much as one might imagine. Der Fuehrer's Face stands as one of the best animated shorts ever made regardless of its use as part of the war effort. Made in 1943 this is not the Tex Avery short I still intend to post - I got my dates wrong despite my consultation with the chronology I wrote about earlier today.

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