What is going on with Sony Pictures and North Korea is nothing new, for Hollywood, according to film historian Ben Urwand. By 1933, there were rules and regulations in Germany, stating that any film which did not depict the country in a favorable light, would not be distributed there. Just like today, Hollywood caved, basically ignoring the early brutalities against the Jews in Germany and throughout Europe. On Thursday, Paramount bowed to North Korea, pulling a film, which depicted the country in a less than favorable light. This is nothing new. During the mid-1930s, Paramount hired a member of the Nazi Party, to manage its German interests. The head of MGM Germany, divorced his Jewish wife, at the behest of the Nazi Party.
I wonder when I’m going to open iTunes and discover that my copy of Die Another Day has been deleted because it presents North Korea in a bad light? The film, Team America was to replace The Interview in theaters, but, because it offends North Korea, it is being pulled. No, this is not satire. It is not SNL. This is the new reality, where, according to David Keyes in the Daily Beast, by giving in to a madman, we become his slaves.
Hollywood has been important to the culture of this nation since the days of the silent films. In the years leading up to World War II, in many ways Hollywood was like much of this country, just not all that convinced that Hitler was a bad guy. It wasn’t until Chaplin forced his movie, The Great Dictator through, on the power of his personality, did Hollywood even take notice of what was going on in Germany. Not only was the Chaplin movie, The Great Dictator, important, but there were a host of stars who felt it their duty to stand up for something. Leslie Howard was murdered by the Nazis because he was a spy. My personal all-time favorite, Cary Grant was a spy. Alfred Hitchcock was so unnerved by what he was happening in Europe, it changed the way he made movies. The George Cukor film starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy was about an American Nazi.
“…“ Released in 1940, “The Great Dictator” was the first Hollywood film that denounced Hitler directly (albeit in the guise of Adenoid Hynkel), took a virulent stand against fascism, and directly addressed Anti-Semitism.
Over-long, at times heavy-handed, it still has many wonderful sequences, including the famous dance with the globe, and all the scenes of Chaplin with Jack Oakie, each trying to out-do the other and prove his superiority.
One criticism that seems to occasionally rear its head is the implication that Chaplin’s pre-World War II anti-fascism was somehow wrong-headed. The atrocities of the Holocaust weren’t fully known to the world yet, so Chaplin’s anti-Hitler diatribe is, in the minds of some, misguided. After the war this mindset would result in the debacle of the blacklist, when Chaplin, among others, were branded “pre-mature anti-fascists.” In other words, it wasn’t politically acceptable to be against Nazism until war broke out with the U.S. Hard to believe anyone could still see things that way now, but some do.
The film industry of the 1930s wanted no part of international politics, no matter how blatant the brutality of a given regime. Profits were at stake. It was little goyisha Charley Chaplin, playing a Jewish barber, who took a public stand. While “The Great Dictator” may not among Chaplin’s finest films, it may, historically, be his finest hour. ”…”
Unfortunately, not everyone was like Cukor or Chaplin. In fact, there is now evidence that certain Hollywood power-brokers, including Carl Laemmie, a Jewish German-American head of Universal, edited a version of All Quiet on the Western Front so that it would not upset Joseph Goebbels.
Today, Hollywood would ban what might be one of the greatest scenes in movie history:
Today, the scene and the movie would be pulled from the screen because it might upset a psycho dictator. Funny how things like that work, isn’t it?
Can you imagine what would happen here, if this were about North Korea?
Imagine what would happen to Mel Brooks today. Imagine what is going to happen to movies and television shows about the Korean War, where the North wasn’t portrayed all that nicely. I wonder if we will be able to watch reruns of M*A*S*H? Just what is to be banned?
I wish what was going on today were something new. Unfortunately, the same thing happened during the lead-up to World War II. Is that where we are heading here? We are currently dealing with a nasty little inbred turd of a psychopath who is accustomed to getting his way rather like a modern day Caligula. Are we going to be required to delete anything which might upset Dear Leader? Will my blog be censored for criticizing him?
Where does this end? When will this be banned?
There is an interesting irony here. I gather, North Korea will now be literally calling the shots when it comes to SPECTRE. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t make much difference. I think this new incarnation of 007 isn’t even worth watching with reruns.