Take away the mustache and…yep, he still looks like a psychopathic, meglomaniac, genocidal dictator. Never mind, worth a try.
I’m going to break all the rules and do a blog about Hitler. In fact, I’m even planning to mention Hitler and Foxtel in the same sentence (ah… actually, I just did already). But not quite how you’d imagine this will work.
We recently signed up for Foxtel’s satellite service—and I’ll be blogging about that next time. Our problem is diminishing television reception. Because we live in the country, and among the picturesque hills and valleys of south west Western Australia—our television reception is utter crap thanks to the increasing number of neighbours and their bloody trees. Nothing short of some clandestine, late-night chain-sawing will fix the issue or a really, really big antennae will cost a fortune without necessarily guaranteeing it will work. Foxtel, on the other hand, at its lowest “bundle” presents a reasonably cheap alternative with limited free-to-air channels included.
So what’s this got to do with Hitler?
At the risk of angering some people, I’m going to suggest Hitler and the Nazi’s tyrannical, murderous, despicable reign of genocidal terror had a couple of positives.
First, Hitler and his whole gang of Nazi followers have provided for the world of fictional action and spy films, and books, the most politically-correct villain ever. Think about it. Most of fiction’s Really Bad Guys risk a backlash of people whinging that you’re marginalising a minority—like serial killers and those Nigerian guys on the phone. And next you’re expected to apologise to somebody about something. But if your Really Bad Guy is a Nazi, everyone’s cool about it. A sort of, “Yeah, fair enough”. No one complains, Nazi villains are always no-risk, politically correct evil dudes. Just look at the helmets worn by storm troopers—sorry, star troopers—in Star Wars. They ain’t baseball caps, folks.
Second, Hitler and the entire Nazi empire have provided endless grist for the documentary film industry. Without Adolf and his jackbooted lads there would be no SBS, let alone a History Channel. Foxtel’s “Documentary” package would collapse. There are documentaries about Hitler’s childhood, his politics, his shoes, his girlfriend, his dogs, his favourite pudding and that he wore his undies inside-out for luck before every invasion… alright, I made that last one up. But Hitler and Nazi documentaries are an industry all of its own, employing thousands of people over the decades. I’ll admit, I’m interested in this stuff. It was, for want of a more compassionate description, a fascinating period in history.
Now, you’d expect the first prerequisite for any documentary about Germany and World War Two is that the actor playing The Great Dictator should actually, at least vaguely, fucking resemble Hitler a bit, right?
Nope, apparently not.
It’s not like we don’t know what Adolf looked like. Okay, he doesn’t have a Twitter account (I hope, I’m not going to check) but there are plenty of pictures and movies. It’s not difficult to research what Hitler looked like.
Despite this blatant and easily accessible information, documentary producers insist on casting just any old noddy as Adolf and sticking a silly mustache on them. It’s like the mustache is all it takes.
Last week on Foxtel it was the “Battle of the Bulge” story. Hitler, planning his last great offensive, resembled Mr Spock with a Mars Bar glued to his top lip. Then it was “Nazi Megastructures” and Adolf, unhappy with the price of concrete at the Berlin DIY store, was possibly Meg Ryan—the mustache may have been real. Seriously, it’s like documentary film makers believe that Denzel Washington can do Hitler, as long as they stick a stupid mustache on his face.
How hard can it be to find an actor who at least roughly resembles Adolf? A bit short, a bit lined in the face, a bad comb-over… most of the judges in MasterChef will do the trick. Fucking Yoda is closer than some of these so-called Hitler doppelgangers. It’s ridiculous, annoying, historically inaccurate and just plain lazy on the producer’s part.
There should be some kind of test. Show the producers pictures of Kanye West, Donald Trump and Walt Disney. Ask them which one looks most like Hitler. Anyone who picks Walt Disney should get fired.
By the way, one of my horror books, Footprints in the Snow, is based in World War Two and during the Battle of the Bulge. It’s got your standard, nasty, homicidal Nazi sergeant and a ghostly abbey in the middle of a snowbound forest. But if you want real evil, wait until you meet the Mother Superior and the rest of the nuns.
It’s not free, but give me a break. At US$2.99 it’s only slightly more than the budget allocated for Adolf Hitler lookalikes in Foxtel’s History Channel documentaries.
Follow this link to the right page and scroll down for the book.