Inglourious Basterds | Eastern North Carolina Now

Outrageous Jewish Fantasy Film Reveals the Nexus of Nazi Horror
(And Consequently, Serves Up Ample Portions from the Sumptuous Buffet of Revenge)

    Only Soviet Russia suffered an equal measure of destruction and the loss human potential, as did Nazi Germany in the world’s most horrific war. Nazi Germany suffered the loss over 5.5 million soldiers, millions of civilians, their industrial infrastructure and cities laid to ruin by over 1.44 million bomber sorties (combined United States Army Air Corps. and RAF raids). In fact, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, with no connection to the Nazi industrial war effort, Dresden, Germany, was obliterated by allied napalm. The British spearheaded this nighttime, nightmare bombing raid just to pay the Nazis a grim lesson for the Battle of Britain in 1940, and the continuous drone of Nazi V2 rocket bombs (buzz bombs) that terrified their public until the close of the war. And yet, there are many survivors of that terrible war, who wished that the Nazis should suffer more for their crimes against humanity.

    For all of you, and your descendents, there is the extreme Jewish fantasy film, “Inglourious Basterds,” to quell your immediate hunger for the ultimate revenge for that ultimate transgression. For everyone else, well, just get over it. For any outrageous film, such as “Inglourious Basterds,” the primary ingredient for success is an outrageous director, such as Quentin Tarantino, who also pulled double duty as the film's creative force by writing the film's screenplay. For those of you who do not know of the provocative writer / director, you may need to be aware that his films can be quite shocking, and the “Basterds” is no exception.

    The “BE WARNED” maxim is wholly in order on this Tarantino effort, and trust me it is not tastefully done. Consider this statement, in the film’s second chapter, by its protanganist, Lt. Aldo Raines (obviously, Tarantino’s homage to the B war movie star, Aldo Ray, from the 1950’s / 1960’s), played by a well cast Brad Pitt in his version of a well-spoken Tennessee mountain accent, as he addresses his fresh hand picked Jewish recruits:

    “We’re not here to teach the Nazi humanity. Nazi ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin’, mass murderin’ maniac and they need to be dee-stroyed. That’s why any and every son of a bitch wear’n a Nazi Uniform, they’re gonna die. Now I’m the direct descendent of the mountain man, Jim Bridger, and that means I got a little injun in me. And our battle plan will be that of an Apache resistance. We will be cruel to the German, and through our cruelty, they will know who we are. And they will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of their friends we leave behind. And the Germans will not be able to help themselves but to imagine the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives. And the German will be sickened by us, and the German will talk about us, and the German will fear us.”

    Lt. Aldo Raines giving his squad of pissed-off Jews their marching orders as to how they will deal with the Nazi.

    Lt. Raines continued in an earnest and demanding voice, “When you join my command, you take on a debit. A debit that you owe me personally. Each and every man under my command owes me one hundred Nazi scalps. And I want my scalps. And all y’all will git me my scalps one hundred Nazi scalps, taken from the heads of one hundred dead Nazis. Or you will die tryin’.

    Lt. Raines addressing the Inglourious Basterds.

    Lt. Aldo Raines proved to be an outstanding motivational speaker, or he had one heck of a gang of some very motivated, and very pissed-off Jews under his able direction. After parachuting into France in 1941, with his merry band malevolent Hebrew Warriors, Lt. Raines led these inglourious basterds on a number of raids against elements of these occupying Nazis. Suffice it to say, he was most successful in dispatching these Nazi soldiers, which led to the Lieutenant being know among these occupying forces as “Aldo the Apache.” Lt. Raines second is command, Sgt. Donny Donowitz, played by virtual unknown actor Eli Roth, and was well known among the Nazis as the “Bear Jew.”

    The “Bear Jew” was well known for his infamous and fine work with a Louisville Slugger on the heads of the Nazis, who would not extend detailed information that would aid him and his fellow basterds in their continued success of their killing Nazis. On one instance, after the basterds had slaughtered all but three of a large Nazi patrol, two of the remaining Nazis were witness to an interrogation by “Aldo the Apache” of the third surviving Nazi, Sgt. Werner Rachtman. Here below is that account:

    Lt. Aldo Raine: [after introductions with salutes]You probably heard we ain't in the prisoner-takin' business; we in the killin' Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-boomin'.

    Lt. Aldo Raine: [Drawing a map] “Up the road apiece, there's a orchard. Now, besides you, we know there's another kraut patrol fuckin' here somewhere. Now if that patrol were to have any crackshots, that orchard would be a goddamn sniper's delight. Now if you ever want to eat a sauerkraut sandwich again, you gotta show me on this map where they are, you gotta tell me how many there are, and you gotta tell me what kinda artillery they're carrying with 'em.”

    Sgt. Werner Rachtman: “You can't expect me to divulge information that would put German lives in danger?”

    Lt. Aldo Raine: “Well Werner, that's where you're wrong, because that's exactly what I expect. I need to know about Germans hiding in them trees, and you need to tell me, and you need to tell me. And you need to tell me right now. Now take your finger and point out on this map where this party's being held, how many's coming, and what they brought to play with.”

    Sgt. Werner Rachtman: “I respectfully refuse.”

    Lt. Aldo Raine: [a smack is heard offscreen] “Here that? That's Sgt. Donny Donowitz. But you might know him better by his nickname. The Bear Jew. Now, if you heard of Aldo the Apache, you gotta have heard of the Bear Jew.”

    Sgt. Werner Rachtman: “I have heard of the Bear Jew.”

    Lt. Aldo Raine: “What did you hear about him, Werner?”

    Sgt. Werner Rachtman: “He beats German soldiers with a club."

    Lt. Aldo Raine: "He bashes their brains in with a baseball bat is what he does. Now, Werner, I'm gonna ask you one more goddamn time, and if you still ‘respectfully refuse,’ I'm callin' the Bear Jew over here, and he's gonna take that big-ole bat of his, and he's gonna beat you to death with it. Now take your wiener schnitzel lickin' finger and point out on this map what I want to know.”

    Sgt. Werner Rachtman: “Fuck you.” [pause]
    Sgt. Werner Rachtman: "And your Jew dogs!" [the Basterds all laugh]
    Lt. Aldo Raine: "Actually, Werner, we're all tickled to hear you say that. Frankly, watchin' Donny beat Nazis to death is the closest we ever get to goin' to the movies." [Calling offscreen]
    Lt. Aldo Raine: "DONNY!"
    Sgt. Donny Donowitz: [From offscreen] "Yeah?"
    Lt. Aldo Raine: "We got a German here who wants to die for his country! Oblige him!"

    "The Bear Jew" and "Aldo the Apache" signs the Nazi life warrant for the returned prisoner.

    In this long, but well paced picture of 153 minutes, we are served up a number of chapters, where we are given some early, but very subtle evidence as to the film’s outcome, and why that outcome is merited. The first chapter introduces Waffen SS Colonel Hans Landa (a.k.a. The Jew Hunter), played by Christoph Waltz, who is the officer charged with rounding up Jews, and dispatching them as he sees fit. In this initial chapter, we are reminded, through the well-spoken rhetoric of Col. Landa (he speaks three languages fluently is this encounter) of the inhumanity of the Nazis’ Final Solution.

    Director Tarantino uses all of the good movie making techniques at his disposal to make a very good film. A list of these tools: Employing copious different languages, with subtitles; English, German,, French and some Italian for comic relief, Nearly all actors performing, within their individual collective groups, were native to their character’s homeland, or ethnicity; American gentile played American gentile, Germans played Nazis, British played English, French played French and American Jews played American Jews, and the sets constructed for each scene within their corresponding chapters were perfect.

    One of the Germans playing a German, Hugo Stiglitz, played by Til Schweiger, who is already a killer of Gestapo officers; 13 at last count - all majors. Lt. Aldo Raine broke into a Nazi prison and killed the guards just to make an offer to the condemned Stiglitz:

    Lt. Aldo Raine: [the Basterds are breaking Sgt. Stiglitz out of jail] “Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz?”

[Sgt. Stiglitz nods]

    Lt. Aldo Raine: “Lt. Aldo Raine. These are the Basterds, ever heard of us?”

[Sgt. Stiglitz nods]

    Lt. Aldo Raine: “We just wanted to say we're a big fan of your work. When it comes to killing Nazis…”

    Nazi Guard: “Uggghhhhaahhh…” [one of the Basterds shoots him]

    Lt. Aldo Raine: “...I think you show great talent. And I pride myself on having an eye for that kind of talent. But your status as a Nazi killer is still amateur. We all come here to see if you wanna go pro.”

    This second chapter obviously gives us some real insight into who are the Inglourious Basterds, and what they are determined to succeed. The previous chapter, and the subsequent chapters after Chapter 2, with the Basterds intertwined within those independent narratives, tells of a parallel story of another pissed-off Jew, Shosanna Dreyfus, played by Mélanie Laurent, whose family was slaughtered by Waffen SS soldiers under the command of Col. Landa. She survives the massacre, and finds a new existence under an alias as a theater operator. She bides her time until she can kill Nazis en masse. She will not have to wait long in this Quentin Tarantino fantasy epic.

    Quentin Tarantino combines both stories of pissed-off Jews as the resolution of this far flung tale finds its natural, and most bizarre conclusion in the classic Tarantino style, where the audience has suspended all disbelief and wonders: Could this have happened?

    The quick answer is maybe, especially with Adolf Hitler - the cruel, calculating, madman - becoming by 1944; Adolf Hitler - the cruel, but bumbling, stumbling, drugged up idiot. However, the Fuhrer may have just survived the July 20, 1944 Wolf’s Lair assassination attempt, and possibly would not have participated so closely with the war effort. Director / Writer Tarantino does not let the subtleties of historical accuracy get in his way of telling a very well scripted (early 1940’s version of “Pulp Fiction“) tale.

    Tarantino lined up his cruel villains, and set them against an almost as cruel bunch of Basterds, then throws into the mix a couple of heroines, including Diane Kruger as double agent, Bridget von Hammersmark, for good measure. The viewer is rewarded with a compelling film, that has many of the components of his classic, “Pulp Fiction,” which could also grow on prickly hise of the film connoisseur, as that classic film did, and eventually become its near equal. Only time will tell, but let me take this moment to advise you that despite the gore, and the fantastic narrative, this is a pretty good film. I’m looking forward to buying the video.

    Rated R. Released on DVD December 15, 2009.

    Article provided courtesy of our sister site: Better Angels Now.

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