Paracelsus (Original Title)

Paracelsus, considering when it was made (1943) and under what conditions, is a remarkably interesting film, though full of not especially well disguised propaganda. It's the story of Paracelsus, the 16th-century Swiss healer whose reputation took on a new vogue in Nazi Germany. Nazi writers and intellectuals began to attribute all sorts of Nazi ideals to the mystic healer, who had been ridiculed and oppressed for choosing to write in German instead of Latin and who had challenged the authority and practices of his medieval colleagues. With the exception of Werner Krauss, the acting is operatic. The screenplay is full of noble opinions about the German character and its ability to triumph over the ignorance of its enemies. The physical production, however, is astonishingly handsome. In addition, the movie contains one of Pabst's most magical scenes, in which Death, in the person of a juggler, enters a town in the midst of a plague and invites the citizens to join him in a celebratory dance.

1h 44min
October 17, 1943
Admin comments

This movie was featured in a documentary “HITLER'S HOLLYWOOD”. It was implied that “Paracelsus” had anti-Nazi sentiment as approved by Goebbels. The hypothesis offered was that Goebbels had permitted its release as a sop to the intelligentsia.
I think the hypothesis, as asserted as a fact in HITLER'S HOLLYWOOD, is false. I think it is something else entirely.

Werner Krauss is Paracelsus, a man whose enemy is death. He meets his foe on the battlefield of the human body in sickness. His foe is assisted by the forces of the Establishment: the rich, seeking ever more riches through monopolies on the latest panacea, the medical colleges, who think that all knowledge of health is contained in Galen and Avicenna. He struggles, and has his victories, and failures, only to rise again, fighting plague, stupidity, cupidity, and vanity, all in the context of 16th Century Germany. It is an anti-elite movie. Paracelsus emphasizes the main political and social message of national-socialism: class separation is bad for a successful and harmonized society.
Paracelsus was called “a remarkably interesting film” by The New York Times’s Vincent Canby (when it received its belated U.S. premiere in 1974).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By signing in, you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy.

By creating an account you agree to Noxe's our terms and conditions and privacy policy.