Bismarck/Entlassung 2 DVD Set
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Bismarck DVD (Wolfgang Liebeneiner): "One of Nazi Germany's Most Popular Film Biographies"
Bismarck stars Paul Hartmann (Ich klage an) as Otto von Bismarck, the creator of Germany’s Second Reich following the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. It follows the Prussian chancellor’s fortunes up to the founding of the German Empire in 1871. The film was directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner (Ich klage an) and co-stars Friedrich Kayssler as Wilhelm I and Lil Dagover as Eugénie.
Ufa, Germany’s leading studio, produced the picture as one of their Staatsauftragsfilme (“state-produced films”), which indicated overt political content. Similarities between Bismarck, the architect of the Second German Reich, and Adolf Hitler, who created the Third Reich, are underscored throughout, but as all countries produce hagiographic works on their founding fathers, one is ill-advised to dismiss treatments of Frederick the Great or Bismarck with the pejorative label “propaganda” unless one is prepared to do the same with pictures about Washington or Lincoln.
Bismarck’s sumptuous production values made it the second most popular film made during the Third Reich. Only Veit Harlan’s Der grosse König, a profile of Frederick the Great starring Otto Gebühr, achieved greater success; Die Entlassung (The Dismissal) and Herbert Maisch’s Friedrich Schiller, the third and fourth most popular, were also lavish, celebratory biographies. The picture was a huge hit in Germany, earning almost 2,000,000 Reichsmark. Dr. Goebbels’ propaganda ministry quickly commissioned a sequel, the superior Die Entlassung (The Dismissal), released the following year. Also directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner, it starred the always-superb Emil Jannings as an elderly Otto von Bismarck.
Germany, 1940. Directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner. Starring Paul Hartmann, Friedrich Kayssler, Lil Dagover, Käthe Haack, Maria Koppenhöfer. 118 mins. German dialogue, English subtitles.
DVD has switchable (optional) English subtitles.
Special Features: Historical Slideshow.
Die Entlassung DVD:
“Nazi Germany’s Most Historically Accurate Film Biography”
Wolfgang Liebeneiner’s Die Entlassung (The Dismissal, 1942) is a direct sequel to the same director’s earlier biography, Bismarck (1940), which starred Paul Hartmann as a younger Otto von Bismarck, the architect of Germany’s Second Reich in 1871.
The year is now 1888. Kaiser Wilhelm I, for whose house of Hohenzollern Bismarck created the empire, dies; his son, Crown Prince Friedrich III, dies soon thereafter of laryngeal cancer and is succeeded by the old Kaiser’s grandson, the arrogant, inexperienced Wilhelm II. In 1890 the Kaiser’s will prevails, and Bismarck, portrayed to perfection by Emil Jannings, is forced to resign. The new Kaiser’s rejection of the old Iron Chancellor forms the core of the drama, the outcome of which ultimately led to the First World War, the abdication of Wilhelm II, and the rise of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich.
Was Die Entlassung a propaganda picture? Of course it was, and it performed its morale-building task exquisitely.
The film was based on Otto von Bismarck’s memoirs, Gedanken und Erinnerungen. Its historical accuracy is impeccable, as all of its dialogue was taken word for word from Bismarck’s own accounts.
Its direction by the always assured Wolfgang Liebeneiner, cinematography by the great Fritz Arno Wagner, musical score by Herbert Windt, and a superb supporting cast including Werner Hinz, Werner Krauss, Theodor Loos, and Carl Ludwig Diehl, make Die Entlassung one of the most ambitious film biographies produced during the Nazi era.
Die Entlassung is finally restored to nearly its original running time with the addition of nearly four minutes of footage cut from the 1954 reissue print, Schicksalswende, the only version available in Germany today.
Directed by Wolfgang Liebeneiner. Starring Emil Jannings, Theodor Loos, Werner Hinz, Carl Ludwig Diehl, Werner Krauss. Germany, 1942, B&W, 103 mins. German dialogue, English subtitles.
- Two Historical Background Slideshows:
- Imperial Berlin (18 min Autoplay)
- Third Reich Cinema: Morale Building
in Wolfgang Liebeneiners’ ‘Die Entlassung’
- Original Promotional Materials:
- Illustrierter Film Kuriers w/ English Translations
- Kamera Läuft & Tobis Press Books
w/ English Translations
- Production Stills
- Interactive Scene Selections
NTSC Region 0 encoding (Entire World)