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A new smash Hit-ler

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2007-01-03

Mein Fuhrer

Mein Fuhrer

Any controversy surrounding Mel Brooks’ The Producers and the portrayal of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich looks set to pale into insignificance as Mein Fuhrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler, is released.

The German comedy, which portrays the esteemed Nazi leader as a bedwetter who has a problem getting an erect penis is being touted as a potential box office smash as well as Oscar material.

In the film, Hitler is parodied as having sexual dysfunctions, playing with toy battleships in the bath and training his dog to give a Nazi salute.

Set in late 1944, the plot sees Jewish acting coach Adolf Grunbaum released from a concentration camp in order to give the troubled Fuhrer acting lessons ahead of an important speech. He is told by Joseph Goebbels not to “take the final solution personally.”, but after Grunbaum’s attempts to kill Hitler fail, he becomes an unlikely therapist for the Nazi leader.

It’s directed by Dani Levy, a Swiss-born German-based Jewish filmmaker, who scored a hit in 2004 with the comedy Go For Zucker, about two Jewish brothers reunited after the Berlin Wall falls down.

Levy’s fictional account of history sees other top Nazis joining in, including Heinrich Himmler.

Levy is not afraid to use comedy to remind people of the tragedy of the Holocaust. “I don’t want to give this cynical, psychological wreck of a person the honour of a realistic portrayal,” the 49-year-old told German magazine Spiegel, when discussing his depiction of Hitler.

Levy is also critical of Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust Oscar-winner Schindler’s List, preferring instead less conventional portrayals of the era – such as Roberto Benigni’s Oscar-winning Life Is Beautiful.

“Benigni never made an attempt to claim his portrayal of the period and the horror was realistic,” Levy says. “Benigni ventured onto another level. He uses a poetic fairytale set in a concentration camp to recount how a child’s fantasies are indestructible. Comedy is more subversive than tragedy. It can assert things that aren’t possible in an authentic, serious portrayal.”