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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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The Catastrophe of Success

The Catastrophe of Success

(p.172) 14 The Catastrophe of Success
Veit Harlan

Frank Noack

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter deals with the world premiere of Jud Süss at the Venice Film Festival in 1940, where it is praised by the young critic Michelangelo Antonioni, and its subsequent box-office success in Nazi-occupied Europe. Several factors behind its success are analyzed, such as an ingenious publicity campaign aimed separately at men and women and Harlan’s use of genre motifs such as illicit love between a curious virgin and a seductive villain. Jud Süss raises questions about the seductive quality of films because various SS members would later claim, when put on trial, that the film influenced them negatively. Harlan follows Jud Süss with another historical epic, Der grosse König (The great king, 1942), and has to endure the mutilation and limited release of a more personal project, the Western comedy-drama Pedro soll hängen (Pedro must hang, 1941).

Keywords:   genre conventions, Michelangelo Antonioni, Nazi-occupied Europe, Jud Süss publicity campaign, seduction theory, seductive villain, SS members, Venice Film Festival, Der grosse König, Pedro soll hängen

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