logos.jpg“History is not about the facts. It is about the context and who is telling the story.” —Prof. Milton Fine. 

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."   –– George Orwell in his novel "1984." 

"Whoever doubts the exclusive guilt of Germany for the Second World War destroys the foundation of post–war politics." ––  Prof. Theodor Eschenberg, Rector, the University of Tübingen.

 

POSTER GALLERY  --view

over 500 German film

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1927–1954  from

Germany and from

many Axis and Neutral countries

across Europe!  

 

Note!  Posters in the Poster Gallery are PERMANENT

acquisitions which are NOT FOR SALE!!   ONLY the

posters listed in our POSTER STORE are for sale. 

(They have a price and order button to use.)

 

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During the German occupation of Paris between 1941 and 1944, it was the policy of the German Reich through Dr. Goebbels to try to pacify the th-1846372853.jpgFrench population using French language feature films written by French scriptwriters, directed by Frenchmen, and starring French actors. This was accomplished by the establishment of Continental Films in 1940, led and overseen by the experienced German film executive Alfred Greven (shown at left.) He had worked at both the Ufa and Terra Filmkunst studios for years, producing such films as Die alte und junge KönigStadt Anatol,  and In Namen des Volkes. Greven worked behind–the–scenes and seemed to stay out of the public spotlight most of the time. For instance, in over 1,000 daily issues of the Berlin  Film–Kurier Tageszeitung published between January 1940 and December 1942 his name does not appear in the published Index to that trade newspaper. Neither does  the name 'Continental Films.'  In a 1997  ZDF TV documentary Tarnname Continental – Alfred Greven, ein deutscher Filmproduzent in Paris, it is stated that shortly before his death in 1973, he burned all his files and personal papers.

 

All proposed films were to be of course vetted by German authorities such as Greven and the Propaganda Ministry Abteilung in Paris. Many scripts were rejected and/or altered along the way. Below, from our Reichsfilmkammer Foreign Sales Office files, an internal chart listing all films censored and/or approved or banned by the Paris Propaganda Office in Paris for the period of the 8th to the 20th of January, 1940. Two films produced by Continental Films were approved. Many other films, both feature films and shorter cultural films were not. All listed US and British studio feature films were banned (not shown in the image).

 

 

 

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Before the company was wound up with the arrival of the Allies in 1944, Continental Films produced thirty feature films. Some of them were also shown in the Reich in synchronised (dubbed) versions –– see the bottom of this webpage.

 

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Although the strong point of this Collection was and remains German films, we have some original annual film publicity catalogues and documents in our Collection of the L'Alliance Cinématographique Européenne (ACE) and  Continental Films.

LeCorbeau-464.jpgWe have a few original Continental Films film posters, the most famous being that of Le Corbeau. Letterboxd stated that this film was 'one of the Most Discussed Films in the History of French Cinema!' and Studiocanal called it 'a veritable masterpiece of French cinema.' Le Corbeau was admired by Hitchcock and Welles and many other film directors and film historians. The Criterion Collection, which is very precise about films they choose,  released their own remastered print on DVD with printed booklet.

 

 

 

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We also have ACE press-books for Harlan’s Jud Süß (Le Juif Suss), for Liebeneiner’s Ich klage an, for Steinhoff’s Rembrandt and Ohm Krüger, and for Hebert Selpin’s Titanic. Titanic was given its world premiere in occupied Paris after it had been banned in Germany itself.  We also have all of the French ACE press–books of Zarah Leander's films shown in France, and the French poster of her Die große Liebe propaganda film.

In terms of documents, we have an annual publication of the Propaganda Abteilung in Paris from 1942, and several original documents from the Reichsfilmkammer on French film production dated 1939 to 1941.  These include:

  • A 3–page carbon copy letter from Dr. Max Winkler’s office dated 24 Mai 1938, outlining German film premiere cinemas in Paris written to the film studios of Tobis, Terra, and Bavaria Films.

  • A Reichsfilmkammer original cover letter dated 10 Juli 1939 and an 11–page mimeographed attachment of the 'Protocol of German–French Film Negotiations'  between the French government and the German government officials.

  • A 6–page mimeographed internal Reichfilmkammer  Fachgruppe Filmaußenhandel “Mitgliedrundschreiben” dated 11 Juli 1939 on Deutsch–Französisches Filmaustauschadkommen. (i.e.German-French Film Exchange Association).  The cover letter reads:


Gentlemen! We send in the attachment 1) Copy of the minutes of the meeting in June this year. German-French film negotiations held in Paris, 2) Text of the agreement now signed by the ambassadors, 3) Copy of the French decree in force for the year 1939/40 about the import and screening of German films in France, 4) For the strictly confidential information of the members of the specialist committee, the exchange of letters between the German Ambassador in Paris and the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Paris, on the allocation of the synchronization quotas and the final regulation for the payments still due to French filmmakers, 5) Circular to member companies. We have the members of the foreign film trade specialist group the wording of the agreement (Section 2) with which is attached as Annex 5). Circular sent. Heil Hitler! Reich Film Chamber, foreign film trade specialist group.  


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Of course, these 1938 and 1939 documents outlining German policies regarding French-German Film export plans and governmental agreements were written and negotiated before the outbreak of war in September 1939 and the subsequent German occupation of France. The July 1939 documents however reveal the Reichsfilmkammer's attitude and desire to manage film distribution in France only two months before the war. 

 

  • Finally, we have a 5–page mimeographed internal document of the Reichsfilmkammer dated  24 January 1941 called 'Guidelines for the Export of French Films'  outlining the strategy for the distribution of Continental Films across Europe and to the scattered French colonies. We are unaware this this document has ever been cited in any books in French, German or English on either French film during the Occupation, nor in the first-ever books on Continental Films published in the past few years.


We publish this particular document below:

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Our Collection also has the 1942 two–ring binder of the Reichsfilmarchiv with an information sheet on each foreign film added to the Archive that year.  There are a number of Continental Film sheets in the binder. We show  below a scan for the entry for Henri Decoin's Le Premiere Rendezvous. 

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The film was released in the Third Reich as Ihr erstes Rendezvous with synchonised German soundtrack (dubbing). This German dubbed version has been released on DVD by Filmclub Edition, which has a few other well-known Continental films also available on DVD in their German versions. The DVDs are available via Amazon.com. Original French versions  of Continental Films on DVD are to be found on Amazon.fr . Some of these films are in box sets devoted to specific French film directors which include other titles not produced in the Occupation.

 

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German dubbed versions of Continental Film movies were shown in the Third Reich. In the 1942/1943 season, the four Continental films that year ranked in the top 100 box office titles, attracting from 16.5 million down to 3.5 million paid attendances. Ihr erstes Rendezvous (above) was ranked #20 with the 16.,5 million viewers. Below are three 1942/43 cinema owners' preview catalogue pages on six such Continental Films dubbed releases:

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