Downfall Producer And Constantin Film Partner Loves Those Hitler Parodies

The Internet meme whereby people replace the subtitles of the memorable bunker scene where Hitler throws a tantrum in the movie Der Untergang (aka Downfall) with fake translations, is one that we said would never die.

Except Constant Film, the German production company that owns the rights to the movie, is trying to kill it anyway by trying to take down the many YouTube videos showing der Führer getting furious about, well, something, anything really.

These videos are being removed because of YouTube’s automated Content ID system, which allows copyright owners to disable any videos that contain its content, whether or not the videos may be legitimate because they contain other elements.

Dumb? Yes. But also, hypocritical, it appears.

Richard Huffman recently interviewed Bernd Eichinger, writer and producer of Der Untergang and also a large sharefolder of Constantin Film as well as chairman of its supervisory board, and asked him after his opinion of the Hitler parodies.

In short: ironically, he is madly in love with them.

Richard Huffman – This is a personal, non-Baader-Meinhof question. As the writer of Downfall, the superb film about Hitler’s final days, I’m sure you’ve seen your work parodied on youtube literally hundreds of times with the various “Hitler Mash-up” videos. What do you think of those videos? If you find them at all amusing, do you have a favorite? Or are they too inappropriate?

Bernd Eichinger – I find those parodies tremendously amusing! Obviously, the film and this scene in particular is a real fire starter for people’s imagination. What else can you hope for as a filmmaker? This is moviemaking heaven! My favorite one is when Hitler is having his tantrum over his losses in the real estate crisis. Hitler’s real crisis at the time was also about a gigantic real estate loss: the loss of all those territories he had conquered fuelled by false credit and driven by avarice, megalomania and extreme ruthlessness. And then history’s Down Jones came crushing down on him….I find this parody so funny because it’s historically relevant.

Tremendously amusing? Moviemaking heaven?

We agree, but Mr. Eichinger, you might want to tell some folks over at Constantin that. Because this is how we feel about those takedown notices (courtesy of EFF board member Brad Templeton):

Update: looks like the director of Downfall, Oliver Hirschbiegel, also thinks the parodies are amusing. He told New York Magazine in January 2010:

“Someone sends me the links every time there’s a new one. I think I’ve seen about 145 of them! Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn’t get a better compliment as a director.

The point of the film was to kick these terrible people off the throne that made them demons, making them real and their actions into reality. I think it’s only fair if now it’s taken as part of our history, and used for whatever purposes people like. If only I got royalties for it, then I’d be even happier.”

So who’s behind these takedown notices? (A good analysis can be found here if you’re interested)

Thanks to Richard for sending us a link to the interview!