cover image The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler

The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler

Ben Urwand. Harvard/Belknap, $26.95 (324p) ISBN 978-0-674-72474-7

Urwand keeps the jaw-dropping revelations coming in this damning indictment of the complicity of the major Hollywood studios—and their mostly Jewish heads—in the Nazis’ campaign to exterminate Europe’s Jews. Initially, profit was the main motivation behind the decisions to give the famously media-savvy German government veto power over scenes and lines it deemed inappropriate, incendiary, or—in the words of a law passed in Germany in 1932 that threatened to completely bar companies that distributed anti-German movies anywhere from further trade in the Fatherland—“detrimental to German prestige.” (The first film to suffer the self-serving edits of the Nazi censors was 1930’s All Quiet on the Western Front.) Even as news of the Third Reich’s extreme anti-Semitism reached the States, Hollywood studios continued with business as usual. That money-driven momentum soon translated into active efforts to thwart the production of an anti-Hitler film, The Mad Dog of Europe (written by Herman Mankiewicz, the man who would go on to write Citizen Kane), which had the potential to get information about the German dictator out to a broad audience. Urwand deserves immense credit for this groundbreaking—and truly unique—take on the WWII era. 25 photos. (Oct.)