The Rothschilds was the first of three stridently antisemitic movies made in 1940 under the Nazi regime. A purportedly "historical" account of the Rothschild family's rise to fortune, set mostly in Great Britain during...展开the Napoleonic wars, the movie reflected a wildly ambitious racial-political agenda. Beyond its indictment of "Jewish" intrigue and avarice, The Rothschilds aimed to show the "Judafication" of British society at Rothschild hands, and thus demonstrate why, in Joseph Goebbels' words, Britons had become "the Jews among Aryans." Yet the film's dramatic conventions did not always mesh with its racial politics, and when the film was released in July 1940, German audiences were left unclear as to just who they were mainly supposed to hate. Goebbels had it pulled from distribution; a year later, a much-revised version, purged of any conceivable sympathies for its British characters, was released. The revamped movie was renamed The Rothschilds: Shares in Waterloo; this is the version presented on this DVD. But by the time of its re-release, the movie's moment had passed. Germany's air war with Britain was winding down to an inglorious end, while at home, a new, wildly popular film, Jud Süss, had become the regime's preferred vehicle for whipping up antisemitic feeling.
If, in the end, The Rothschilds proved a less effective incitement to hate, it wasn't for lack of trying. With its striking juxtaposition of Nazi social criticism and racial theory, its twin assaults upon Jewish and British character, and its deft recycling of many key myths surrounding the House of Rothschild, this film deserves far more notoriety than has been its due. Directed by Erich Waschneck; Music by Johannes Müller; featuring Carl Kulmann, Hilde Weissner and Giesela Uhlen.