D III 38

D III 38

D III 38 (Original Title)

"Across German screens at the outbreak of WW2 streaks DIII88, a Luftwaffe epic glorifying the spirit of the newly arisen Germany.""

Across German screens at the outbreak of WW2 streaks DIII88 (DIII88: The New German Air Force Attacks), an aeronautic and maritime spectacle glorifying Hermann Göring's Luftwaffe and the spirit of the newly arisen Germany. Once war became imminent, Joseph Goebbels instructed the German film industry to initiate production of numerous militaristic projects, but DIII88 was initiated by the Propaganda Minister's rival, Göring, who commissioned several aviation pictures. The directorial assignment was mystifying. Herbert Maisch specialized in light musicals and showed little interest in filming aerial battle scenes. The man who made the action sequences of DIII88 exhilarating was Hans Bertram, a WW1 ace who co-wrote the script and shot all the air sequences—the central core of the film—with his second unit. In Bertram, the Reichsmarschall and commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe had found the very man who could convincingly glorify the new German air force. The flying footage, shot by Heinz von Jaworsky, is indeed exciting, as it shuttles back and forth from WW1 to the eve of the Polish invasion in 1939. The inspiration of WW1's fallen airmen is used to celebrate comradeship and sacrifice—the spirit of 1918—typical of Fliegerfilme of the period. Otto Wernicke (M, The Testament of Dr. Mabuse) steals the show as Line Chief Bonicke; with his portly build and garrulous demeanor, he bears a passing—if superficial—resemblance to Hermann Göring himself, a fact that may well have resonated with German audiences who saw the picture in October 1939. Body and soul, Bonicke represents the spirit of WW1: comradeship, loyalty, duty.

DIII88 is not a war picture per se, because it takes place in peacetime, but the young, fresh-faced air aces enthusiastically look forward to the coming war. The propaganda is blatant: The only thing that matters is dedication to duty and unconditional commitment to the Fatherland. ""This is the only way for our weapon to turn into an instrument that our Führer can absolutely depend on in an emergency. We continued working and rebuilding, and we passed on the spirit of the front pilots to our youngsters. We are the knights of the Reich. Airmen are winners for the glory of Germany"". Their mettle was about to be tested."

1h 44min
December 19, 1939
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