:: Tuesday, August 05, 2003 ::

Triumph of the Willing

Came across this interesting piece. Remember Bush landing on the aircraft carrier to declare the war over?

The stage was set. The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was positioned off San Diego to provide the best camera shots for TV coverage of the president’s arrival and speech. On deck were hundreds of officers in dress whites and sailors in blue dungarees, lined up like so many tin soldiers.

On the horizon two small S-3B Viking aircraft appear. They buzz the carrier in a double fly-by, and then come in for a wrenching 150 mph landing. Out steps George W. Bush, dressed up in a flight suit, helmet under his arm. The U.S. president swaggers across the flight deck. The uniformed audience cheers...

But wait a minute, haven’t you seen this somewhere before? Yes indeed, you may have – but not from Robert Duvall who directed the Reaganite action movie Top Gun (1986) starring Tom Cruise. The royalties for this production ought to go to Leni Riefenstahl, who staged the same entry for her propaganda film about the 1934 Nazi Parteitag (party congress) in Nuremberg, Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will), starring Adolf Hitler.

  Riefenstahl’s movie opens with Wagnerian music, and then mountains of clouds. As they disperse, a Junker 52 aircraft can be seen. At the Nuremberg airport tens of thousands of Nazis eagerly await the approach of Hitler’s plane. The airplane pulls up, two SS men rush out to secure it. The door opens and Nazi dignitaries file out, Goebbels and then Der Führer himself. The crowd chants, Sieg heil! over and over as the musical score builds to a crescendo.

You can bet your 52-card Saddam poker deck that whoever staged the spectacle aboard the USS Lincoln was brazenly copying Riefenstahl’s opening of Triumph of the Will. It’s only the most famous (or infamous) fascist propaganda film ever made. A biography of the director wrote of the "Führer’s famous approach from the skies," recalling the ancient Aryan deity Odin.

The Bush=Hitler equation is simplistic and wrong, but I think they have a point about the inspiration for the film. And a nice piece of writing from these ex-sparts.

:: Alister | 11:02 am | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


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