|Der Fuehrer's Face |
Donald Duck series
| File:Der Fuehrer's Face.jpg |
Donald Duck in Der Fuehrer's Face.
|Directed by||Jack Kinney|
|Produced by||Walt Disney|
|Story by||Joe Grant|
|Voices by||Clarence Nash|
|Music by||Oliver Wallace|
|Animation by||Bob Carlson|
|Layouts by||Don DaGradi|
|Studio||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures Inc.|
|Release date(s)||January 1, 1943 (USA)|
|Running time||8 minutes|
|Preceded by||Sky Trooper|
|Followed by||Fall Out Fall In|
Der Fuehrer's Face is a 1943 animated cartoon by the Walt Disney Studios, starring Donald Duck. It was directed by Jack Kinney and released on January 1, 1943 as an anti-Nazi propaganda movie for the American war effort. The film won the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film and was voted #22 of "the 50 Greatest Cartoons" of all time by members of the animation field.
A German oom-pah band composed of Axis leaders Hirohito on sousaphone, Göring on piccolo, Goebbels on trombone, and Mussolini on bass drum marches through a small German town, where everything, even the clouds and trees, are decorated with the swastika, singing the virtues of the Nazi doctrine. Passing by Donald's house (the features of which depict Hitler), they poke him out of bed with a bayonet to get ready for work. Because of wartime rationing, his breakfast consists of ersatz bread (50% sawdust), causing hiccups, coffee brewed from a single hoarded coffee bean, and a spray that tastes like bacon and eggs. The band shoves a copy of Mein Kampf in front of him for a moment of reading, then marches into his house, carrying the bass drum, and escorts him to a factory.
Upon arriving at the factory (at bayonet-point), Donald starts his 48-hour daily shift screwing caps onto artillery shells in an assembly line. Mixed in with the shells are portraits of the Führer, so he must perform the Hitler salute every time a portrait appears, all the while screwing the caps onto shells, much to Donald's disgust. Each new batch of shells is of a different size, ranging from minute shells to massive shells, as large as Donald if not larger. The pace of the assembly line intensifies (as in the classic comedy Modern Times), and Donald finds it increasingly hard to complete all the tasks. At the same time, he is bombarded with propaganda messages about the superiority of the Aryan race and the glory of working for The Führer.
After a "paid vacation" that consists of making swastika shapes with his body for a few seconds in front of a painted backdrop of the Alps, Donald is ordered to work overtime. He has a nervous breakdown with hallucinations of artillery shells everywhere, some of which sing and are the same shape of the marching band from the start, music and all. When the hallucinations clear, he finds himself in his bed — in the United States — and realizes the whole experience was a nightmare. Donald embraces a miniature Statue of Liberty, thankful for his American citizenship.
The short ends with a caricature of Hitler's angry face. After two sets of "Heils", a tomato is thrown at Hitler's face, morphing into words: The End
Before the film's release, the popular band Spike Jones and His City Slickers, noted for their parodies of hot songs of the time, released a version of Oliver Wallace's theme song, "Der Fuehrer's Face" (also known informally as "The Nazi Song"). Unlike the version in the cartoon, some Spike Jones versions contain the rude sound effect of an instrument he called the "birdaphone", a rubber razzer (aka the Bronx Cheer) with each "HEIL!" to show contempt for Hitler. The so-called "Bronx Cheer" was a well-known expression of disgust in that time period and was not deemed obscene or offensive. (The sheet music cover bears the image of a tomato splattering in Hitler's face.) Jones recorded two versions of the song at the request of RCA Victor Records which released the song on the Bluebird label - one with a trombone note after each "HEIL!" and the other with a razzer called a 'birdaphone'. The birdaphone version was the one released. The success of Jones' record prompted Disney to change the short's title, originally Donald Duck In Nutzi Land, to match the song.
Due to the propagandistic nature of the short, and the depiction of Donald Duck as a Nazi (albeit a reluctant one), Disney has kept it out of general circulation since its original release. Der Fuehrer's Face finally received an official U.S. video release in 2004, when it was included in the Walt Disney Treasures limited edition DVD set Walt Disney: On the Front Lines. It also appeared on another Walt Disney Treasures set: The Chronological Donald Volume Two, released in December 2005.
- Harry Turtledove adapted the song in one of his Colonization novels, in tune with the novels' theme. See the page on the Race for the lyrics.
- Spike sings a short version of the song in the comic book Spike vs. Dracula #3.
- In the M*A*S*H episode "Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde", Hawkeye Pierce sings part of the song to Radar, while suffering from insomnia. This is the Spike Jones version, with the raspberries included.
- In the movie Hart's War, a group of American POWs are seen playing the song and dancing to it in elaborate costumes.
- Herman Wouk built a scene around the song in his novel War and Remembrance.
- This short was one of the many featured in Donald Duck's 50th Birthday.
- Young, Jordan R. (2005). Spike Jones Off the Record: The Man Who Murdered Music. Albany: BearManor Media ISBN 1-59393-012-7 3rd edition.
- Template:Imdb title
- Disney Archives: Donald Duck Character History
- Der Fuehrer's Face at The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts
- Banned Cartoons, including Fuehrerde:Der Fuehrer’s Face
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