Wednesday, November 25, 2015

An Art Form From the Dark Side...

I will avert this time from my dealing  with music in order to relate a little-known incident in another art form; the making of a movie.
The fateful voyage in early 1912 of the Titanic has been  portrayed a number of times by way of the movie; however, the most {arguably} unusual, let alone troubling version was made in Nazi Germany in 1943, at a time when the fortunes of  this monster regime were beginning to turn against it.
The Minister of Propaganda (meaning essentially, the minister of the arts), Dr. Joseph Goebbels, decided to have a movie produced dealing with that fateful one-time voyage. He arranged to have the monies available(at a price of many millions in today's money value) and appointed a young director named Herbert Selpin to bring this epic to the screen.
The movie was indeed produced and distributed to various countries; but, strangely, not to the German audiences, who never got to know of its existence. The theory is that Goebbels, upon mulling the issue over, was fearful of the possibility that there could be a reverse reaction to the saga that could create  a form of depression, what with the German civilian undergoing a reality about the declining state of Nazi Germany as it so recently appeared to them for the first time.
The theme that Goebbels wanted to convey the movie upon was the reality that the English plutocracy  wanted this  giant vessel to reach New York in record time, no matter what safety measures might have to be sacrificed. Actors, many from the military, were hired and evidently gave Selpin a rather difficult time during the course of the production time, mostly from drunkenness and general rowdyism.
Selpin reacted vehemently to the chaotic state of the film's production, and was summarily banished from his position, ending up being jailed by the Gestapo. Soon after, this young director was found hanged in his jail cell - that was the official cause of death.
There are some historians who are looking into the possibility that Goebbels may have ordered Selpin's death, for fear that the truth, as we know it, may eventually become known.
For me perhaps a movie about the movie should be made...



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