A French simpleton named "Abel" becomes manservant of Field Marshall Goering during World War I at Goering's hunting estate, and, later, at a Hitler Youth school. "The Ogre" stars John Malkovitch and was directed by Volker Schlondorff. The Ogre is a joint British-French-German production), about a Frenchman during World War II. The German title is "Der Unhold". I believe the French title is something like "The Monster". The film open in a Paris suburb of 1925, at St. Christopher's School for Boys. The boys are shown as wearing brown smocks (over shirts and short pants), fastentened in back with three buttons. "The Ogre", which stars John Malkovich is an intense film. The last half or so of this film is set at a German Napola in World War II. The Napola, were NAZI party training schools. They were boarding establishments which were run like military schools.
The Ogre (Der Unhold) was released in 1996. It was Based on the novel, "The Erl King" by Michael Tournier. Th screenplay was written by Jean-Claude Carriere & Volker Schlondorff. The film was directed by Volker Schlondorff.
The film begins in France just before World War II. The first scenes are at a French boys orphanage/school and ended up at a Hitler Youth school.
The Ogre starred John Malkovich and Armin Mueller-Stahl
"The Ogre" is a grotesque fairy tale about Hitler's Germany in which a nanve mechanic comes to symbolize the seductive appeal of the NAZI regime. The film is the life story of an abused orphan, Abel. The movie opens at St. Christopher's Boys School, 1930s France, when Abel is about ten. Abel's only friend is an obese boy named Nestor, whose father is the school janitor, allowing the boys access to the entire school after-hours. Abel's relationship with Nestor is one of co-dependence; Abel follows Nestor's
lead, doing anything Nestor commands, including licking Nestor's wound
(received during a game of jousting) clean, reading to him while he eats in
the middle of the night after stealing away to the kitchen, or wiping
Nestor's behind in the lavatory. Abel takes the blame for Nestor's
infractions, but Abel is oblivious, and takes the punishment, for he
believes that he has "special gifts." After an infraction during Mass, when
Nestor drops a cigarette lighter, Abel is banished to the upper level to
receive punishment. He prays to have the school destroyed; minutes later,
Nestor and his friends continue to play with the cigarette lighter,
re-fueling it, and causing a fire that destroys St. Christopher.
Unfortunately, Nestor dies in the conflagration.
Years later, Abel (John Malkovich) is an adult. He works at a mechanics shop
and plays with the children after school lets out. He is an amateur
photographer, and takes their pictures. He pays particular attention to one
little girl, Martine. Abel drives the little girl home one afternoon, but
forces her to read from his favorite book (a story about a wilderness
adventure through Canada, that was Nestor's favorite story), but the girl
"doesn't like the story," and refuses to read it, then tries to play with
his camera, which he almost violently objects to. They have a verbal fight,
and the girl runs home after he lets her off. She falls into trouble in an
alleyway and calls for help. Abel rushes to save her, fights off an attacker
and sees to the girl when the police arrive. She accuses Abel, and he is
arrested for child abuse. Instead of going to prison, Abel is forced into
the military just when the Nazi's invade and occupy France. His unit is
captured almost immediately. He is then placed in a prisoner of war camp,
where he makes friends with the guards. Occasionally, he wanders off into
the wilderness, but always returns to the camp at night. Once, he discovers
a cabin, and creates home-away-from home. Like the adventure story he's fond
of, Abel dreams of living free in the woods as a trapper. Within his own
world, this becomes reality, until he is discovered by the cabin's owner,
who takes a liking to him, although the owner bans him from the cabin. Weeks
later, the cabin owner, secretary to Herman Goring, arrives at the prisoner
of war camp and takes Abel to a job at Goring's hunting lodge. Abel makes a
home for himself there, until Goring is called to the Eastern Front, and
Abel is set free. Abel asks the Secretary for a letter of recommendation to
Kaltenborg Castle, which is scarce miles away. He had met Graf Kaltenborg
during his stay at the hunting lodge, and it is here that Abel discovers his
For Kaltenborg Castle is an elite training school for The Hitler Youth, with
an occupancy of 400 boys. Even though he is French, the letter of
recommendation for Goring's secretary clears the way to become a custodian
at the HJ School. Abel shares a wing with 200 HJ boys during the night, and
it is his job to keep the fireplace going during the night, as well as
making certain the boys behave. His affinity for children, and his beliefs
that he is a magical being pay off at Kaltenborg castle, where he is most
comfortable, and where the boys instantly form a kinship with him. One day
while gather food and supplies for the boys, Abel comes across boys on an
afternoon outing. Abel tells them tales of the wonderful Hitler Youth and of
all the boys at Kaltenborg. He recruits them to the castle, and the
Obergebietsfuhrer commends him, commanding him to go out and recruit every
boy he comes across. Abel begins his travels across the countryside, riding
a black stallion while holding onto the leashes of two muzzled Doberman
pinchers. Soon, tales of an Ogre coming down from the high country to steal
the children sweep over the land, but Abel is not deterred. However, the
escalating war poses problems, for a contingent of HJ are sent off, and
forcing the need for new recruits at the Castle.
After returning with a few boys, Abel assists the doctor with the physicals
and orientation; the doctor is outraged at one boy in particular, one from
weak, Slavic stock. The Obergebietsfuhrer, however, saves the boy from being
summarily expelled, because of the need for soldiers as the war rushes to a
close. Abel befriends the boy, becoming his guardian angel. During the
swearing-in ceremonies, Abel babies the boy, going as far at pulling up his
slouching socks as the Obergebietsfuhrer hands him his dagger and scabbard.
Tragedy occurs, however, during weapons practice. The boy wanders behind
another boy firing an anti-tank gun, the backfire consuming the child in
flames. Abel stays at the boy's side in the infirmary until he dies.
Soon, Russian soldiers arrive. The Obergebietsfuhrer hasn't been seen in
weeks, and the doctor escapes before the Russians lay siege to the castle.
Abel tries to help the boys, tells them that they need to run away into the
mountains, but the boys are fully dedicated to Hitler and the Hitler Youth.
They will stand and fight and die for the Fatherland. Abel protests,. but is
attacked by a group of older boys, who pummel him to the ground. The
Obergebietsfuhrer returns and rallies to boys to prepare for true battle.
Abel journeys through the night, trying to decide what to do, when he comes
along a mass of escaping Jews, wandering around the night like phantoms of
vampires. A small group of fleeing Wehrmacht kill all they can. Abel
discovers a young Jewish boy among the dead, and hurries him back to the
castle, where, under the cover of night, he hides him in the infirmary. Abel
pledges himself to this child. He is discovered, but simultaneously, the
Russians lay siege. The HJ boys fall under the invading army, and Abel flees
into the bog with the Jewish boy on his shoulders, and together they
There were various outfits in the different settings of the film.
Basic institutional uniform: white long
sleeve shirt, black shorts, knee stockings, ankle boots, black smock which
button in the back, three top buttons. White nightshirts and long johns for
night wear. Abel's nightshirt has pinstripes and a collar, while Nestor's is
Everday scenes: Brown Shirt, Black shorts, gray knee
socks, black ankle boots, black tie, belts, shoulder strap. During swearing
rally, the HJ musical band wears white knee socks, while soliders continue
to wear gray, but with white crew socks with tops cuffed over boot tops.
Black campaign caps. Exercise sequences: black shorts, white tank top (undershirt) with diamond HJ symbol emblazoned on chest; sometimes shirtless; sometimes with knee socks and ankle boots, sometimes barefoot or black slippers/plimsols. Military (anti-tank) training sequence: main HJ uniform, with with black, waist length coat, metal Wehrmacht helmets and munitions belts. Peasant Boys. Mostly plus two knickers, variety of shirts, sweaters,
overcoats, sometimes with boots and socks, sometimes barefoot (several
seasons presented in film).
There were three types of training schools for the NAZI Elite: The Adolf
Hitler Schools, under the direction of the Hitler Youth, the National
Political Institutes of Education, and the Order Castles -- the last two
under the aegis of the party. The Adolf Hitler Schools took the cream of the
crop from the Jungvolk at the age of twelve and gave them six years of
extensive training for leadership in the party, and in the public services.
Ten such schools had been founded by 1937, the main one being the Akademie
At the top end of the system were the so-called Order Castles, the
Ordensburgen. In these legendary Castles with their atmosphere of the Order
of the Teutonic Knights, were trained the elite of the Nazi elite. The
knightly order was based upon absolute obedience to the Master, the
Ordenmeister, and devoted to the German conquest of the Slavic lands to the
east. Only the most fanatical young National Socialists were chosen to
attend, usually from the top ranks of the Adolf Hitler Schools and the
Political Institutes. There were four Castles, and a student attended all of
them successively. The first six years were spent studying the "racial
sciences" and other aspects of Nazi Ideology, with an emphasis on mental
training and discipline, with some physical training. Roles were reversed in
the Secondary year at a Castle, where sports and athletics were at the
forefront. The third Castle, where the boys spent the last year and a half,
offered political and Military instruction. Finally, they are sent to fabled
Marienburg in East Prussia to to complete their training in all aspects of
total commitment to The Fatherland.
The Kaltenborg Castle sequences were shot in Marienburg Castle. When Abel
first arrives at the Castle, the HJ boys are in formation and singing, and
most of the HJ training sequences are filmed as if they were propaganda
films of the Third Reich. Director Volker Schlondorff comments in an
interview: "The Challenge was to stage these rallies and to film them
convincingly as possible, to the point where it hurts. When we feel how
powerful such seductive devices are even today, when we feel sick of it,
only then is the goal achieved." The songs include: "Badenweiler Marsch", "Schwarzraun ist die Haselnuss" (Dark Brown is the Hazelnut), "Flamme Empor", and "Die Fahne Hoch" (Hort-Wessel Lied).
HBC has developed some informatin aboyt NAZI education. The NAZIs maintained the basic structure of German secondary education inherited from the Weimar Republic. There were three categories of state secondary schools which offered a total of up to 9 years of instruction. The best known was the Gymnasium which offered a classical curriculum. The other two, the Real-Gymnasium and the Oberrealschule, offered a curriculm giving greater emphasis to the sciences and utilitarian courses. The
NAZIs while not changing this basic structure, added new schools that were designed to train the future leaders of the Third Reich. Two new types of secondary schools were created. The first was Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalt (NPEA or NAPOLA) schools. The second was the Adolf Hitler Schools. The difference between these two schools is not altogether clear and
sems in part to reflect the intermable beureaucratic infighting so prevalent in the Third Reich.
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