“History is not about the facts. It is about the context and who is telling the story.” —Prof. Milton Fine.
This film, which premiered seven weeks after the start of WWII, was a hymn to the re–establishment and fighting readiness of the new German Luftwaffe. The film has no actual battle scenes since it was filmed when Germany was still at peace. It nonetheless shows the readiness, skills, training, enthusiasm and esprit de cour of both the young pilots and their older officers and instructors; who had flown planes themselves in the First World War.
There were 17 cinemas scattered across America which imported German films and screened them to German populations and to non-German speaking audiences as well. ( It was common practice in the larger cities such as New York to import film prints without subtitles, as well as the film's prints with English subtitles; to cater to both audiences simultaneously.) As America did not enter WWII officially until after Pearl Harbor in December 1941, DIII88 was shown in these US cinemas in 1940.
In Manhattan, there was the 96th Street Theatre in Yorkville, the Garden Theatre on 81st Street; the 78th Street Theatre at 79th St. and 2nd Ave; the 78th Street Theatre at 78th Street and 1st Ave (also known as the "Tobis Theatre.") Other cities with such cinemas were in Newark, N.J. (the Hindenberg Theatre), in Buffalo, NY; in Milwaukee, two cinemas in Chicago, and then those in Los Angeles and in San Francisco.This Collection has two handbills, including the very rare cinema herald program for this film when it was screened in Manhattan: for the 96th Street Theatre in NYC: