Dani Levy‘s Mein Fuehrer: The Truly Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler, which opens in Germany on 1.11, is described in this story by the AP’s Berlin-based Geir Moulson as “treading ground that once would have been off-limits…a German movie that dares to treat Hitler as comedy.”
Levy’s plot “starts in December 1944, with Berlin in ruins and Hitler (Helge Schneider) too depressed to deliver a much-awaited speech to rally his people,” Moulson relates. “His propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels (Sylvester Groth), finds a solution in Adolf Gruenbaum (Ulrich Muhe, star of The Lives of Others), a fictional Jewish actor who coached Hitler at the beginning of his career and is now in a concentration camp.
“‘We need someone who can ignite our Fuehrer’s greatest strength — and that strength is his hatred,’ Goebbels explains.
“Gruenbaum uses the mission to try to kill Hitler, but fails. So he puts him through humiliating exercises, such as crawling about barking like a dog. The farce broadens when Hitler’s barber accidentally shaves off half his mustache; the enraged dictator shouts himself hoarse and Gruenbaum has to lip-sync the big speech, but deviates from the script to make Hitler look even sillier.”
Comedies dealing with war and Holocaust-related subjects — a Hamburg stage musical called Mein Ball, about Hitler trying to save Germany by staging the World Cup, plus Roberto Begnini‘s Life is Beautiful and Mel Brooks‘ “Springtime for Hitler” sequence in The Producers — are mentioned as having paved the way for Levy’s film, but what about the all-but-forgotten Hitler’s Son, the unfunny 1978 comedy staring Bud Cort and Peter Cushing?
Actually, there was something funny about that film — the copy line on the one-sheet: “Vee haff vays of making you laugh.”