Review of Jud Süß

Jud Süß (1940)
Halloween flick
30 October 2004
This baroque melodrama is the perfect Halloween flick. To watch Jud Suss is to enter an alternative universe in which Hitler had invaded Russia 6 weeks earlier, won the war, and we were all watching a different type of movie. The level of political incorrectness is horrifying. The film was the top grossing film in Germany in 1940 during a period when Germany actually had a popular film industry. It is one of about 30 films (Vorbehaltsfilme) you could be arrested in Germany for possessing. (So far it has not shown up on popular film file sharing networks). Academics may view these Vorbehaltsfilmes in private viewing sessions and film festivals. Others are subjected to home invasions by the police. The final word regarding the film would have to be the chapter Eric Rentschler devotes to it in his masterpiece, The Ministry of Illusion. There is no official list of proscribed titles (Vorbehaltsfilme)because as Rentschler puts it, "Such a list would only demonstrate that the German government considers the populace of its democracy in crucial ways politically immature" (p. 221)Many of the movies Rentschler devotes chapters to are hard to find.
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