Above All Else in the World

Above All Else in the World

Über alles in der Welt (Original Title)

"Nazi cinema produced numerous WW2 military epics, one of the most impressive of which is Ufa's first-rate 1941 production, Über Alles in der Welt (Above All in the World), directed by Karl Ritter (Stukas). Ritter customarily produced morale-building propaganda pictures, and this, his first propaganda film to deal with the war, as well as his finest effort, was one of the highest-grossing pictures of the Third Reich. Set largely in France, England, and Spain, the film chronicles the plight of Germans caught by the outbreak of war and their frantic attempts to return to the Fatherland to join the battle. All of Germany's enemies receive equal disdain. The British, the French, the Poles, and the Jews are portrayed respectively as warmongers, profiteers and cowards. In the end, all that is important is returning to Germany. As Ritter put it in Ufa's pressbook, Über Alles in der Welt presents ""a dynamic apotheosis of the certainty of German victory"" in the fight ""forced upon"" the German nation and the German peoples' resistance against the dark powers in enemy camps.' Five months prior to the film's premiere, Reichsminister for Propaganda Dr Joseph Goebbels reviewed the film's production progress and entered into his diary on 10 October 1940: ‘Über alles in der Welt. Richly naïve and primitive but probably a great public hit. Ritter tells national stories without inhibition that would make others blush.'

1h 25min
March 21, 1941
Admin comments

This film is a fine example of Ritter's superior skills, and the art of not-so-subtle movie making with a message. The enemy here – the British, French and Poles - are treated with contempt and disdain: at once gullible, manipulative, conniving and treacherous, not to mention swarthy or subject to unflattering camera angles and lighting. They are no match at all really for German industry, bravery and cunning. And that relentless good humor and stoicism! Anti-English, French, Polish propaganda in the film is taken too far and I believe it was a mistake from a political perspective. You don’t depict your Arian brothers like that.

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