January 27, 2015

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Source: Shutterstcok

In the case of Nuremberg, the logic-defying world of Holocaust retreads gives us an astounding number of completely contradictory quotes, of which this is just a sampling:

Ending the Silence Over “€œNuremberg:”€ Tonight, the long-suppressed documentary gets its first public showing in decades, presented by the International Documentary Assn. at the Museum of Tolerance, kicking off a national tour, to be followed by worldwide distribution and video release.  “€”L.A. Times, June 2, 1997

The retrospective kicks off October 27th with the world-premiere screening of the restored version of Schulberg’s masterpiece Nuremberg, a documentary that Schulberg initiated in 1945 with the assistance of famed American documentarian Pare Lorentz. The film was never completed, and, for many decades, it was considered lost forever.  “€”Fort Lee Film Commission, October 27, 2007

Long-overdue premiere for Nuremberg: Film that revealed extent of Hitler’s World War II atrocities finally receives North American premiere, 62 years later … Nuremberg is only now receiving its North America premiere, which will happen 7 p.m. Sunday at the Bloor Cinema, as a major presentation at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival.  “€”Toronto Star, April 16, 2010

The 1948 documentary, never before shown in the U.S., shines an important and fascinating light on the events at Nuremberg. Never before seen on U.S. screens, the documentary “€œNuremberg: Its Lesson For Today”€ compels us as much because of its complicated and fascinating history as for what it has to show, which is a lot.  “€”L.A. Times, June 3, 2011

… And, yes, that’s the same L.A. Times that announced the “€œfirst public showing”€ back in 1997.

And on January 26, the “€œlost”€ Hitchcock Holocaust film world-premieres on HBO … as long as you don”€™t count the PBS world premiere in 1985.

In the real world, when a film print is cleaned up, it’s called a restoration. When deleted scenes are included (according to media reports, some new footage has been added to the last reel of the Hitchcock film), it’s called a director’s cut. When Alien was rereleased in 2003 with the infamous “€œcocoon scene”€ and Ripley catfight added, it wasn”€™t advertised as a “€œlost Ridley Scott film.”€ 

But the world of Holocaust history plays by different rules. Blatantly false claims are allowed, because no one (who matters) dares question the sacred cause of “€œremembrance.”€ For that reason, in a perversion of what the discipline of history ought to be about, new research is seen as a threat. Holocaust history, a field which deserves to be treated seriously and with a meticulous respect for accuracy, has devolved into an endless parade of “€œsublime recapitulation.”€ Attempts to challenge the orthodox historiography are met with a media blackout (at best) or a prison sentence (at worst). On the other hand, breathless headlines await the person who can find a new, exciting way to dredge up and recycle something old and worn.

Filmmakers keep “€œdiscovering”€ new Holocaust films for much the same reason God keeps putting images of Jesus on tortillas … it keeps the faith strong in times of doubt and darkness.


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