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Der Störenfried / The Troublemaker (1940)
colour propaganda cartoon
The Collection in 2015 acquired twenty–five original B&W Bavaria Filmkunst press photos of the Hans Held 1940 colour cartoon, Der Störenfried (The Troublemaker); all with mimeographed original photo captions on the verso. The captions are individually numbered and it is clear that the original set had 28 photos. We are missing photographs #4, #9, and #23 from the set.
Synopsis (edited from from Wikipedia and other public sources)
A fox is on the loose! The forest animals awaken. A magpie sees that a fox is sneaking around in the forest and alarms the police bird and the rabbit father. The warning comes too late for three rabbit siblings: the fox grabs the girl rabbit and takes it to his burrow. The two rabbit brothers tell a hedgehog what has happened. He is already wearing his spiked uniform and is gathering his men to fight with the fox. He also asks the wasp squadron from the Wasenhorst Bullenwiese (Wasp Airfield, Bull Meadow) to help the hedgehogs fight the fox, and the wasps take off.
The fox, meanwhile, begins to heat a kettle for the girl rabbit. With the help of the other forest animals, including the rabbit father, the hedgehogs are gradually catapulted to the burrow and soon nail the fox to a tree with their spiky uniforms. Nevertheless, the fox frees itself and dashes around in the forest. Now the wasps attack the fox by swooping down like Stukas and sting him mercilessly.
Even that doesn't stop the fox from going back to its burrow. A rabbit throws eggs at the fox. When the egg-laying chicken wants to hatch its eggs in a hurry directly on the catapult, the fox wants to attack it and is hit by the stone falling on the catapult. Then the forest animals dance wildly.
Hans Held (1914 – 1995) originally drew advertising cartoons and advertising labels. During the war, he headed the cartoon department of Bavaria Filmkunst, which besides The Troublemaker only made apolitical entertainment films, including The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen - A Winter Journey.
The film has clear militaristic tendencies: the hedgehogs wear spiked uniforms and Wehrmacht helmets, while the wasps make shrill Stuka noises while flying and they attack the fox in combat aircraft formation. The fox is reddish brown in the colour film, and therefore in some post–war commentary is considered as a stand–in for the Red Army. The fable of all the forest animals banding together and fighting a common foe reinforced the Volksgemeinschaft ideology of National Socialism. The cartoon was aimed of course at children. Hitler Youth members would have seen a poster in these years proclaiming “Throw all troublemakers out!”
Here are some press photos from the film, which are presented in sequence to reflect the plot line:
Der Störenfried cartoon is available on a DVD produced by Absolute Medien and sold on Amazon and on ebay.de (German language soundtracks only, no subtitles.) Here the cover of the DVD's booklet with a scene from the cartoon in colour: