This film is also known as "The Man I Married". It is based on a short story by Oscar Schisgall. The film mixed in period 1938 newsreel footage into the film. This was the year the NAZIS annexed Austrua and forced the British and French to abandon Czechoslovakia at Munich. Carol Hoffman (Joan Bennett) is an American woman married to Eric Hohhman (Francis Lederer), an American of German ancestry. They married in America and Carol does not learn the truth about her husband unytil the family travels to Germany to visit with Eric's family. She is horrified about what she sees in Germany. Her husband is mesmerized and emerges as a devoted NAZI. She tries to get their son Ricky (Johnny Russell) back home to America. The film was made after the NAZIs had conquered much of Europe, but before America had entered the War. Darryl Zanuck at 20th Century-Fox decided to shoot a series of movies to inform Americans as to what was happening in Europe. The film includes the stock characters such as storm troopers, Gestapo, Hitler Youth boys. While the American people was staunchly isolationist, Hollywood in the late 1930s began to make anti-Japanese and anti-NAZI films in the late-1930s. This film is a good example. By 1940, American public opinion had begun to change as a result of the fall of France and the London Blitz. Still Americans opposed entering the European War. Because of Hollywoods internationlist orientation, isolationist Senator Senator Gerald Nye (Republican, North Dakota) launched a Senate investigation.
This film is also known as "The Man I Married".
It is based on a short story by Oscar Schisgall.
The film mixed in period 1938 newsreel footage into the film. This was the year the NAZIS annexed Austrua and forced the British and French to abandon Czechoslovakia at Munich.
Carol Hoffman (Joan Bennett) is an American woman married to Eric Hohhman (Francis Lederer). Their son Ricky (Johnny Russell) is the focus of the film. Two other boys are Freihof's sons (Ragner Quale and Rudy Frolich).
The heroine, a typical American wowman marries an American of German ancestry. That was not unusual as Germans at the time were the largest ethnic group. The Time review suggests that the effectivness of the film comes from the fact tht it happans to an average American woman, rather than to a foreigner or Jew. ["Offensive"] Carol and Eric Hoffman married in America. Carol does not learn about her husband's character until the family travels to Germany to visit with Eric's family. His father is an industrialist and Eric comes to assist with business matters. She is horrified about what she sees in Germany. Eric encounters his childhood sweetheart Frieda Heinkel who is a fanatic NAZI supporter.
Eric is approached by an old friend`s whose brother is in a concentration camp. He promised to to try to help get him released. Eric is, however, mesmerized and emerges as a devoted NAZI. He also decided he wants to marry Frieda and remain in the new Reich permanently with Ricky. Then the plot changes. Eric discovers from his father that his mother was a Jew. It is also unusual as NAZI anti-Semitism is not a major feature of these films. Eric breaks down. He can no longer stay in the new Germany. But Carol will not have him back. She leaves him and returns to America with Ricky. When Carol walks out on her two-timing husband, she sticks out her right arm, and shouts, "Heil, heel!" The film includes the stock characters such as storm troopers, Gestapo, Hitler Youth boys.
The plot here may sound unrealistically Dicksonian, but important Americans have discovered to their surprise late in life that they were Jewish (Madline Albright and George Allen). A reader writes, "In the case of Albright I never believed for one moment that she did not know that she was actually a Jew. She was born and grew up in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her father's name was Josef Körbel. A woman with intelligence and education, like Madeleine Körbel Albright, should have known that her father's name was not Czech, but German. For people who lived in Czechoslavakia it meant that they were Sudeten Germans or Jewish. I cannot believe that she never asked her parents why they had a German name. I am sure she always knew the truth." Our readers also suggest we explain who George Allen is and many non-Americans will not recognize the name. George Allen was the son of Washington Red Skin head coach George Allen and a two-term U.S. senator from Virginia. (Until being defeated in the Democratic 2006 landslide, he was a Republican luminary and spoken of as a presidential candidate. He is an especially interesting example because he was raised in the good-old-boy Southern tradition which is often contemtuous of Jews. I never heard him say anything anti-Semrtic, but he was noted for racist remarks.
The film was made after the NAZIs had conquered much of Europe, but before America had entered the War. Darryl Zanuck at 20th Century-Fox decided to shoot a series of movies to inform Americans as to what was happening in Europe.
While the American people was staunchly isolationist, Hollywood in the late-1930s began to make anti-Japanese and anti-NAZI films in the late-1930s. This film is a good example. Quite a few Hollywood films addressed World War II. The most interesting period was before America entered the War after the Japanese attack on Pear Harbor (December 1941). Before that there were no Government censorship or directiveds on content. Even so the films made were strongly critical of the NAZIs and Japanese militarists. The most interesting fact is that during this period, there were no films made which endorsed the strong isolatiionist sentiment that was widely held by Americans. It is also interesting to note how Hollywood ignored the Soviet aggressions. After Pearl Harbor, of course, Hollywood enthusiastically signed up for the war effort. There were also a number of related films made after the War. Because of Hollywoods internationlist orientation, isolationist Senator Senator Gerald Nye (Republican, North Dakota) launched a Senate investigation.
There has always been a strong isolationist streak in American political life. Americans separated by two great oceans have since the Revolution seen ourselves as different and apart from the rest of the World. From the beginning of the Republic, President Washington warned of entangling foreign alliances. For much of our history, Britain was seen as the great enemy of American democracy and of Manifest Destiny. World War I was America's first involvement in a European War and the United States played a critical role in winning that War. Had the Germany not insisted on unrestricted submarine warfare, in effect an attack on American shipping, it is unlikely that America would have entered the War. Many Americans during the 1920s came to feel that America's entry into the War was a mistake. There was considerable talk of war profiteering. Many were determined that America should avoid war at any cost. This feeling was intensified with the Depression of the 1930s and the country's focus was on domestic issues. With the growing military might of a rearmed Germany, war talk in Europe began. Isolationist leaders opposed any war. Others such as, Charles Lindbergh, thought that America could not win a war against Germany's vaunted Luftwaffe. Many not only opposed American involvement, but even military expenditures. Against this backdrop, President Roosevelt who did see the dangers from the NAZIs and Japanese militarists, with political courage managed to not only support Britain in its hour of maximum peril, but with considerable political skill managed to push through Congress measures that would lay the ground work for turning American into the Arsenal of Democracy, producing a tidal wave of equipment and supplies, not only for the American military, but for our Allies as well, in quantities that no one especially the Axis believed possible
Koppes, Clayton R. and Gregory D. Black. Hollywood Goes to War: How Politics, Profits and Propaganda Shaped World War II Movies (New York: Free Press/Macmillan, 1987), 374 p.
"Offensive," Time (August 12, 1940).
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