Wednesday, February 16, 2011

3D Nazi films?! Not really...

Unrelated trench-hopping Nazis, courtesy of the Italian Stereoscopic Archive. 
It was revealed yesterday in Variety that two 3D short films produced by the Nazis have been conveniently-just-discovered.

In what could be described as a publicity stunt for Philippe Mora's upcoming documentary on how the Nazi regime used images to manipulate reality, the director has announced he unearthed two 3D shorts, produced for Goebbels' propaganda company. Except, both are described in Ray Zone's Stereoscopic Cinema and the Origins of 3-D Film, 1838-1952, which was published in 2007, and neither were produced for Goebbels. Despite what the headlines might lead you to believe, neither of these are a top-secret 3D Triumph of the Will with stereoscopic Hitlers marching out at you.

"So Real You Can Touch It" (Zum Griefen nah, aka Close Enough to Touch, aka You Can Nearly Touch It) premiered in Berlin in May 17, 1937, and was not shown in the US. It is a "short commercial film promoting insurance", according to Zone's book, and a musical set at a carnival featuring close-ups of a barbecue, according to Variety. How manipulative!

"Six Girls Roll into Weekend" (Sechs Madels rollen ins Wochenend), was a 12-minute promotional film produced by Zeiss Ikon in 1939, prior to the outbreak of the war. It was intended for internal use, never screened in the US, and the only public screening on record was in 1941 at a meeting of the German Society for Stereoscopy in Tobis-Haus, Berlin. Variety describes the content as "what may be UFA studio starlets living it up". Oooh, I can just sense the propaganda oozing out of this one.

Despite what the article implies, the Germans weren't the first producers of 3D films. Audioscopiks was a popular 3D featurette around the same time, other 3D shorts were produced sporadically in the 20's and 30's, and 3D photography dates back to the mid 1800's. 

Know any more about these films? Post a comment!

The source for most of the info in this article was Ray Zone's excellent book, Stereoscopic Cinema and the Origins of 3-D Film, 1838-1952.


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