This chapter deals with the first public trial ever conducted against a German film artist, with many celebrities appearing on the witness stand. Although of high entertainment value, many of the testimonies are irrelevant with respect to Harlan’s actual guilt or responsibility. Journalists center on how short he is or such lurid details as Kristina Söderbaum’s nude bathing during the Venice Film Festival in 1941. Several witnesses for the prosecution were themselves fellow travelers, so Harlan’s defense finds it easy to discredit them. What ultimately helps him to be acquitted of the charge of crimes against humanity is the lack of written evidence, and the trial is of interest chiefly to film historians interested in the influence of the film medium on spectators. Without its participants being conscious of it, the Harlan trial is a conference on film authorship.
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