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"The Nazis' Only Cinematic Attack on Degenerate Art"
A statue unearthed in a field causes a sensation when experts proclaim it authentically ancient. However, it was created by Peter Brake, a young sculptor who buried it in order to expose the eminent “experts” who authenticate it. When Brake announces that he is the statue’s creator, a trial ensues, and it is discovered that Brake is a member of the NSDAP. Jud Süss and Der ewige Jude are anti-Semitic films that came out in 1940. Venus on Trial (Venus vor Gericht, 1941) is a comedy and much milder than those. Director Hans Zerlett had made an earlier anti-Semitic film, Robert and Bertram (1939), likewise a comedy. Venus was part of the Nazi degenerate-art campaign launched in 1937. Peter Brake’s targets are the Jewish-dominated art dealers who swindle Germany by selling worthless art for prodigious sums. Were it not for the anti-Semitic content, the picture’s reputation might be enviable for it is quite hilarious to watch the “experts” getting their comeuppance! Venus on Trial enjoyed a long run, made a lot of money, and made a lot of people laugh. It hasn’t been seen since.
Directed by Hans H. Zerlett. Starring Hannes Stelzer, Hansi Knoteck, Siegfried Breuer.
Germany, 1941, B&W, 87 Minutes. German dialogue, English subtitles. Digitally remastered in 2K from 35mm print for superb quality.
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Original Promotional Materials Slide Shows: Illustrierter Film-Kurier & Das Programm von Heute with English Translations; Posters, Press Photos, Lobby Cards, etc.
• Historical Background Video Essay: “Han’s H. Zerlett’s VENUS ON TRIAL”, by William Gillespie
Libraries and Institutions Please Note: Educational Editions with PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RIGHTS and DIGITAL SITE LICENSES are available
NTSC Region 0 encoding (Entire World)