Sammy McQueenCWL 395Jennifer Anderson BlissDecember 14, 2017Inglourious Basterds vs. Schindler’s ListThe movies Inglourious Basterds and Schindler’s List were nearly night and day movies about the occurences during World War II.
Most will agree that these two films approach the legacy or the overall memory of World War II and most importantly, the Holocaust. When we think about World War II, the first thing to someone’s head is the Holocaust. When we think about the Holocaust, we think about such a tragic point in history next to slavery. Throughout the course of this class, we have read many memoirs that talk about personal experiences from: a woman’s experience as a child growing in concentration camps, to a man’s experience being admitted into concentration camps as an adult and was a scientist to graphic novels that was a father-son “story telling time” to a fictional graphic novel.
All stories can give us readers a visual of these Holocaust survivor experiences. We also watched two movies in class: Inglourious Basterds and Schindler’s List. These two movies were both about World War II, but shown in two completely different ways with two different plots. Inglourious Basterds came out in 2009, so with that being less than ten years ago, this film was not made anywhere close to when the World War II ended. This movie tells the fictional historical story of two plans to wipe out the Nazi Germany leadership.
One of the plans was by Shosanna Dreyfus who is a female French-Jewish cinema owner, and the other plan was by a team of Jewish American soldiers led by a man by the name of First Lieutenant Aldo Raine. One of the antagonists throughout the film was Hans Landa, an SS colonel who tracked down Raine’s group and who had a big impact on Shosanna’s past. In 1941, the very first scene of the film SS colonel Hans Landa shows up at a French dairy farmer’s home trying to figure out what happened to the last Jewish family in the area whom he could not find. In exchange for the Germans agreeing to leave his family alone for the rest of the war, La Padite reveals that the Dreyfus family was hiding under the floor for awhile. After a discussion in English and then back to French, Landa orders SS soldiers to shoot through the floor. The family is killed except for Shosanna, a young woman who escapes into the fields. She had terror all over her face and she never looked back as she was running. The first scene of the film was very real due to the fact that these “visits” would happen often during the war.
The Nazi’s were on a hunt making sure all Jews were either killed or taken to concentration camps.A couple years after this occurrence, Lieutenant Aldo Raine of the First Special Service Force recruited Jewish-American soldiers to a team called the Basterds, who spread fear among the German soldiers by not only killing, but scalping them. The beginning of the film where us viewers see the scalping happen, shows a bit of mockery by the Basterds to the Nazi soldiers. This shows the “comedy” side of the film and fictional side as we know there was not a group called the “Basterds” during World War II. Shosanna covers up her identity in operating her cinema in Paris under an undercover name, Emmanuelle Mimieux.
She then meets a man by the name of Fredrick Zoller who is a German sniper. Zoller planned to star in a Nazi propaganda film called, Stolz der Nation. Throughout the film we see his interest in Shosanna, and he later convinces Joseph Goebbels at a luncheon to hold the premiere of the film at her cinema.
Shosanna agrees to it and later comes up with a big plan with her projectionist and her lover, Marcel, to kill the Nazi leaders attending the premiere by burning the place down. This is her payback to the Nazi’s for killing her family back in 1941. Really and truly, nothing like this really happened during World War II, which goes to show the fictional aspect of the film. Whenever people hear about the second World War they automatically thing about concentration camps, death, not plotting to burn down cinemas, etc.
After Shosanna plots her revenge, the rest of the film ends up being about her and her plan along with the Basterd’s plans. There was an event that occurred in an underground bar where Germans were discovered by the Basterds. They open fired, killing everyone in the tavern except for a Nazi by the name of Sergeant Wilhelm and Hammersmark, who is wounded. Raine arrives and negotiates with Sergeant Wilhelm for Hammersmark’s release, but she shoots Wilhelm when he lowers his guard. Raine tortures Hammersmark by sticking his finger into her gunshot wound. This scene shows Raine almost taunting her by doing so to get answers. He learned that Hitler would be attending the film premiere and decided to continue the mission. After everything is clear, word got out about the shooting.
Landa investigated the aftermath of the scene at the tavern and finds one of Hammersmark’s shoes and a napkin with her signature on it. Tension starts to build. At the premiere, two of the Basterds, Donowitz and Ulmer, follow Raine as part of the plan in posing as Italians in hopes that no one would figure out their real identity or nationality. This scene is more on the humorous side as these three Americans are trying to act as if they were Italian. The Nazi Landa who was talking to them fell for it, however, I would say that this was the climax of the film.
He takes Hammersmark, to a private room verifies that the shoe from the tavern did fit her and then strangled her to death. Once the truth is discovered, Raine and another of his men, are taken prisoner, but Landa has Raine contact his superior with the and cuts a deal. He decided will allow the mission to proceed in exchange for immunity and rewards. Little did Landa know, jokes would be on him with Raine once released.
The ending of the film was a very high intense scene. During the screening, Zoller took Shosanna to a private room, hoping he would get his moment with her. This was a switch up for the viewer because he was also so gentle with her and now we see the manipulative side of him because he did not get what he wanted. She pretends to go along with what he wants and once the door is closed, then pulls out a gun and shoots him. Just when we think he is dead, she gets close to check his pulse and he pulls out a gun and shoots her where they both end up dying together, but not as a happy couple.
As the cinema film reaches its climax, the camera cuts to a video of Shosanna telling the Nazi people that they have walked into their death and they are about to die in the theater. Marcel, who locked the doors before the film started, lit a pile of highly flammable film tape behind the screen as Shosanna’s image laughs at the crowd. As Marcel tosses the lit cigarette into the film file, the camera emphasizes the slow motion of the cigarette flipping slowly in the air and landing onto the film tape.
This was an overly dramatic moment as the viewer is about to see why these people are about to die. Ulmer and Donowitz who were never captured, killed Hitler and everyone in the theater. Landa surrendered to Raine and as payback, Raine carved a swastika into his forehead.
This also was comical for Raine as he is making a mockery out of the Nazi’s and their dignity. Overall, the film did not tell the story about the Holocaust in anyway other than the first scene where Shosanna escapes and her family are killed while in hiding. When someone talks about the Holocaust of thinks about a movie based off of World War II, the plot of this film would not have been thought of. The film Schindler’s List was the complete opposite. Not only does it tell a true story, but it lets the viewer actually see what happened during the Holocaust and actually what life was like in concentration camps and also the viewer will feel the emotion throughout the film. The viewer is always on their feet. This film is about the life of Oskar Schindler who was an ethnic German businessman, during which he saved the lives of more than a thousand Jewish concentration camp prisoners from the Holocaust. He did so by having them work for him in his factories during World War II.
Schindler, arrived in the city hoping to make his fortune. To help him run the business, Schindler enlists the aid of Itzhak Stern who was a local Jewish official who had contacts with black marketeers and the Jewish business community. Stern helped Schindler arrange financing for the factory. Throughout the film, we see so many details of concentration camps. Many mothers and children got separated, which was a very emotional and heartbreaking scene of the film because this was something that happened often. Seeing the terror and distraught looks on the mothers’ faces showed how awful and evil this time period was. Many mothers and children never saw each other again after that day or even after the war was over.
There were also scenes where prisoners were lined up and some were shot at random for no reason or if the Nazi’s felt something went wrong in the work field. Many jews were killed just because. Schindler hired these Jewish workers because their cost was less, while his partner Stern was sure that as many people as possible are very important to the German war effort, which saved them from being transported to concentration camps or even killed. The eye opener for Schindler was when he witnesses the massacre of the execution of the ghettos and he immediately realizes he must do something to help these innocent people.
This film also had a little mystery to it. Whenever people talk about this film, they mentioned the little girl in the red coat. This happens to be one of the only splash of color in the black and white film. Schindler does what he can to maintain relationships with Nazi’s so in the end they will side with him. The scene that shocked me was when Goth horribly mistreats his Jewish maid and then would randomly shoots people from the balcony of his villa. Seeing the prisoners are in constant fear for their lives during this scene really stabs the viewer because these innocent people are being killed for no reason at all.
As time passes, Schindler’s main focus changes drastically from making money to trying to do what he can to save these people. As the viewer continues to watch, you wonder if Schindler will be able to save these people, or what if plans go through and they all die?As the Germans begin to lose the war, Nazi’s are required to continue to ship more Jews to to other camps. Schindler and partner Stern create “Schindler’s List” which was a list of about 850 people who were to be transferred to another camp called Brinnlitz and saved them from the transport to their death at Auschwitz.The SS guards in Schindler’s factory were ordered to kill the Jewish workforce, but Schindler persuades them not to.
During this scene the quote that was said “return to their families as men, instead of murderers” really hit me. This really made me realize that Schindler was a pretty good person who cared about the futures of those who worked for him.The workers give Schindler a signed statement attesting to his role in saving Jewish lives and present him with a ring engraved with a quotation saying, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” Even in this moment Schindler is honored, but feels he should have done even more to help. The last scene where all the Schindler Jews were laying on the concrete they woke up the next morning to a Soviet soldier arriving to announce that they have all been saved.
The Jews then leave the factory and walk to a nearby town.There was a sense of life at the end of the film when the scene changed from black and white to color. This was an emotional scene of the film as the Schindler Jews all line up to visit his grave in Jerusalem. Each actor who played a part as a Schindler Jew, placed stones on the grave paying their respects to the man who saved their lives during World War II. Schindler’s List was the perfect film to show the most accurate version of what life was like during World War II for Jews. The viewer was able to get a sense how poorly these innocent people were treated and why it has such a big impact on all people today.