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Veit HarlanThe Life and Work of a Nazi Filmmaker$
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Frank Noack

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813167008

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813167008.001.0001

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(p.137) 12 Adultery
Veit Harlan

Frank Noack

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter deals with the hostility Söderbaum has to face as an apparently irresponsible young woman who has broken up a model German marriage, mirroring the private drama of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, who was about to leave his wife and children for the Czech actress Lída Baarová. Harlan, who divorces Hilde Körber in the summer of 1938 and marries Söderbaum the following year, both supports and exploits this type of situation in this period. His films Das unsterbliche Herz (The immortal heart, 1939) and Die Reise nach Tilsit (The trip to Tilsit, 1939), the latter a remake of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s silent classic Sunrise (1927), make adultery appear either decent or at least seductive, respectively. That Söderbaum almost dies while giving birth provides her with a symbolic baptism of fire, and the public forgives her. Die Reise nach Tilsit has anti-Polish tendencies, and as it awaits release, Germany attacks Poland, starting World War II. The trade papers announce a film titled Jud Süss (Jew Suss).

Keywords:   adultery, anti-Polish, divorce, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Das unsterbliche Herz, Die Reise nach Tilsit, World War II, Jud Süss

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