Posted October 3, 2011 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Features
 
 

Nasty Nazis!


Why the Third Reich make the best villains …

Why
the Third Reich make the best villains …

There’s
no greater villain than the arrogant, egotistic Nazi. Hollywood certainly seems
to think not. Since his demise, Hitler and his clan have provided both the
British and American film industry with an inexhaustible resource. A character
that that audiences relish rooting against, even if it’s time and time again. After
all, there are few historical villains worst than one wearing a Swastika!

With
recent releases such as The Debt, starring Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington, which looks back on
three secret agent’s mission to capture a hiding Nazi, FilmJuice takes a look back at the most memorable screen Nazi bad-asses.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Nazi Major Arnold Ernst Toht, played by Ronald Lacey, is such a threat in Raiders of the Lost Ark that you truly believe Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones will actually perish at the hands of this dastardly Nazi and his henchmen. Lacey’s sinister portrayal of Toht is so skin crawlingly creepy that even the iconic image of his melting face creates little empathy for him. Spielberg’s film depicts an almost comic book version of a Nazis, whose real atrocities aren’t even noted as they search for the Ark of the Covenant.

Check out his melting face here:

Captain America : The First Avenger (2011)

When watching Joe Johnston’s film you are instantly filled with overwhelming feelings of nostalgia for the 1940s. The action-adventure scenes are reminiscent of Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones trilogy and the 1940s setting and costumes are a fresh perspective to the highly technical modern films of 2008’s Ironman and The Incredible Hulk. The Nazi danger comes from Johann Schmidt (aka The Red Skull), played by Hugo Weaving, who embodies the scientific threat that the Third Reich possessed; his red skull is the result of the Nazi’s failed attempts at creating a super solider of their own. Although never a match for the eagle-eyed American go-getter that is Captain America, Schmidt is a skilled marksman and a genius at combat and political strategy.

Marathon Man (1976)

Set
30 years after the end of the war, John Schlesinger’s seminal film places Laurence
Olivier’s

Nazi War Criminal, Christian Szell, in an urban setting that the director
utilizes for suspense and action. Szell is a former Nazi dentist at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Despite showing off
some grotesque dentistry in the film, his most haunting scene could well be the
one in which Jewish survivors who recognise Szell hound him down a New York
street, only to be murdered by him. The Marathon Man brought to light fresh
horrors from the concentration camps that included the robbery of the
imprisoned Jews and the atrocious medical experiments inflicted upon them.

If you can bear to, revisit the dentist scene
here:

Hell Boy (2004)

Guillermo
del Toro’s cult classic is filled with World War Two Villains from each side of
the Iron Curtain. The main antagonist of the film is Hitler’s favourite
assassin, Kroenen (Ladislav Beran): a 100 year old, gas mask wearing surgery
addict who is powered by a clockwork heart. Kroenen and his Russian assistant,
Rasputin, battle Ron Perlman’s eponymous Hellboy against a modern New York City
backdrop, making the movie cinematically unique. As usual, Guillermo del Toro’s
unique vision adds extra flavour and originality to the piece. As do his
intricately designed weapons and villains.

Check out Kroenen’s introduction here:

Schindlers List (1993)

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Spielberg’s
epic is often derided for being too melodramatic and for failing to reflect the
true horrors of the Holocaust, which is, of course, impossible to do. It’s
through the character of Amon Goeth that the film looks to show the true
monstrosity of Nazi Germany. Portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, Goeth is a psychopath
who murders Jews at his beck and cal, even before breakfast. The film managed
to weave hope, despair and horror together to successfully create the feeling of
actually being in the concentration camp itself.

Watch Fiennes as Goeth here:


Marcia Degia - Publisher

 
Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.