Tomorrow the World: Plot

Figure 1.--Emil is not happy about coming to America. Nor did he reveer his parents who defied the NAZIs. Here he has put on his Hitler Youth uniform which he brought with him to America.

The description of the plot here comes from the play. We belive the film plot is very similar. Emil Bruckner, a 13-year old ardent Hitler Youth boy, loses both his parents. They were both political disidents and pacifists and after being arrested by the Gestapo die in concentration camps. Emil comes to live with his closest relative--his uncle. His uncle lives in a typical, small American town. The tension in the production is that the innosence of small-town America comes face to face with a NAZI indicrinated boy. All sorts of problems develop because of Emil's ingrained anti-Semitism and NAZI brainwashing. There are some differences between the play and film, although many of the same scenes occur. We have reproduced the play plot here as it is a fuller account than what we have for the film.

Play Plot

Emil is brought to America by his mother's brother. Emil's American uncle is a widower with a dauhter the boy's age. His mother's unmairred sister also lives with her brother. There is also Frieda, a German born housekeeper. The family has eagerly anticipated Emil's arrival. At first his old world manners abd foibles with the English language charm them. Soon this changes. Emil insults his uncle's fianceÚ who is Jewish. The family sences trouble.

Emil goes to his room to change clothes and was up for lunch. He emerges from his room in his treaued Hitler Youth uniform which he had brought to America by wearing it under his black knicker suit that he wore when he arrived. Emil has learned that his uncle is a research professor doing military work. He wants to ferret out any information possible which might prove useful to the Fatherland. As Emil makes his way downstairs from his room, he beckons to Freida the German maid to follow him outside. Freida is shocked to see Emil in a Hitler Youth uniform and tells him that it is a bad joke that he is playing. Emil of course is serious and thinks that since Frida is German that she will help him find valuable information that can be sent back to Germany. Once she realizes that Emil is serious, Freida looks contemsously at his Hitler Youth uniform and tells Emil that she is a loyal American. She walks back inside and tells the family what has just transpired.

The family and especially his uncle's fianceÚ try to be understanding, but firmly insist that he change out of his uniform before joining them for lunch. His uncle's fiancÚ is also his daughter's school teacher. Emil joins her class. He turns out to be a juvenile monster. He will lie, steal, bully, and threaten to get his way. He is sent home one aafternoon after a nasty confrontation with a classmate. Emil writes an obsenity about his teacher on the school sidewalk with a piece of chalk. The teacher goes to Emil's home, confronts him, and slaps his face.

Emil seens his uncle locking up some papers in his desk drawer. While trying to pick the lock, he's surprised by his cousin. Despite all the trouble Emil has caused, she still loves him and is planning to give him a birthday party. She has chosen a wristwatch he coveted as a gift. Emil trys to get his cousin to promise that she will not tell her father that Emil was trying to pick the lock on the desk drawer. She promises not to as she does not think that it is very important.

On the day of Emil's birthday party, his cousin has to coax three classmates, all boys, to come. None of them like Emil. Before the party begins, however, Emil angers his cousin and she hints that she will tell her father what Emil was doing. Emil follows her into the basement and knocks her unconcious with a heavy object. Freida discovers the girl and scrams for help. Emil runs by the boys who are his party guests and out of the house. The boys chase after him and one boy finds him. He thrashes Emil and bring him home.

Now his uncle is understandably past all understanding. The police are called to take Emil away. Before they arrive, however, his uncle loses his temper with Emil and almost chokes him to death. He's stoped by his fianceÚ. Emil shaken and now remorseful seens ready to change his ways.

Film Specifics

A HBC reader has provide us some details specifically from the film which is avaialble on DVD. He reports that main difference between the two would seem that in the film version, Emil wears the black knee socks (he arrives in with the knicker suit) as part of his Hitler Youth outfit. The film version also has Emil wearing the black tie with the uniform rather than a kerchief. The HJ outfit seems to be authentic, except for the Swastika armband, which is within a white circle (regular SS/SA emblem) instead if the HJ white square and white line. In the film, Emil's first school contact, or most striking, is with a Boy Scout, whom Emil believes to be "the leader" of the class, since the Scout wears a "military" outfit. The uniform is a typical Scout uniform for that time period, including knickers instead of shorts. Dark (olive?) knee socks are wore (barely noticeable, but if one pays attention, one can notice the kickers and knee socks). This is the only scene showing an American boy in anything other than long trousers. The 3 boys who are bribed to attend Emil's birthday party near the climax of the film, arrive wearing suit and tie. After the girl Pat is attacked by Emil (who flees on foot), the three boys chase after Emil, not discovering him until dawn, all three still wearing their suits. The fight scene between the boys seems almost brutal, and Emil's suit doesn't hold up very well.


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Created: 9:17 PM 9/19/2006
Last updated: 9:17 PM 9/19/2006