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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old January 30 2014, 09:41 PM   #1
Dale Sams
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Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

I think we've all seen the sentiment that perhaps its tasteless to use Nazis as a Sci-Fi episode* or a comedy.

But given that the creators of such were much more well versed with what happened (The time difference being about the difference between today and 1990)...don't you think the people of today have no business casting moral judgment on those creators?

*Not to mention, Spock's quip, "Yes Captain you should make a very effective Nazi" and Shatner's reaction still crack me up.
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Old January 30 2014, 10:10 PM   #2
J. Allen
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

I'm fine with the lampooning of Nazis, because Nazis are fucking morons.
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Old January 30 2014, 10:48 PM   #3
Maurice
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

The trouble is, "Patterns of Force" doesn't lampoon them. The "fun" is our guys playing dress-up.

I recently read Paul Schneider's first draft script "Tomorrow the Universe", which later became "Patterns of Force", and it's interesting how close it is to "A Piece of the Action", which was produced only a few episodes earlier. To wit:
  1. The people of the planet are highly imitative
  2. Kirk orders a phaser strike from orbit which knocks out a crowd of Nazi soldiers on the street
  3. Kirk pretends the Federation is run by Nazis in order to put one over on the locals
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Old January 30 2014, 10:54 PM   #4
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

It always amazed me that this scene was filmed even before the U.S. involvement in WWII.
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Old January 30 2014, 11:19 PM   #5
Dale Sams
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

Maurice wrote: View Post
The trouble is, "Patterns of Force" doesn't lampoon them. The "fun" is our guys playing dress-up.

I recently read Paul Schneider's first draft script "Tomorrow the Universe", which later became "Patterns of Force", and it's interesting how close it is to "A Piece of the Action", which was produced only a few episodes earlier. To wit:
  1. The people of the planet are highly imitative
  2. Kirk orders a phaser strike from orbit which knocks out a crowd of Nazi soldiers on the street
  3. Kirk pretends the Federation is run by Nazis in order to put one over on the locals
WOW. I'm glad that didn't come to pass.

I just re-watched "Patterns of Force". It's quite good! It probably usually gets 2 1/2 to 3 stars among reviewers, but I think it's a near-classic. It's got a lot of nice Shatnerisms where he throws lines away* or mutters under his breath to make it more natural. As opposed to our modern actors who seem to be brainwashed that every. stinking. syllable. is the Word of God himself and must be eeeennnunnnciateddd.

Another thing I like about TOS is how they'll linger on a moment instead rushing the plot because that's how the writer was taught in Writing 101 (See: The scene where they get the transponders out...it takes time, Kirk mutters some stuff, they tell a couple of jokes with Spock on Kirk's back)

The story itself is very compelling. The guest actors very good.

*I'm still not sure what Kirk is saying in "Arena" when the ship loses warp speed...something like "Warp 8 are you crazy?"
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Old January 30 2014, 11:34 PM   #6
Robert Comsol
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
It always amazed me that this scene was filmed even before the U.S. involvement in WWII.
That Charles Chaplin scene is one of my all time favorites. What I find even more amazing: It still applies to us today!

Bob
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Old January 30 2014, 11:41 PM   #7
Shawnster
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

Did you happen to catch our previous conversation about this very same subject?
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Old January 30 2014, 11:42 PM   #8
Maurice
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
  • Kirk pretends the Federation is run by Nazis in order to put one over on the locals
WOW. I'm glad that didn't come to pass.
In the script Kirk does it because the "mad scientist of the week" (an unstable woman, how novel) wants to observe where unchecked Nazism leads, and has told the people on the planet that Nazism remains in force back on Earth and that Kirk is lying to them. Because the Enterprise is in danger, Kirk decides to outmaneuver her by taking on the mantle of Nazism in order to subvert her . The moment the ship is safe he denounces the whole thing and the Enterprise instantly blasts all the spacecraft on their launchpads which the Nazis have built to invade neighboring planets.
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Old January 30 2014, 11:52 PM   #9
Dale Sams
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

Shawnster wrote: View Post
I did, and I forgot I did!

However what prompted me to post was that I had just thought, "What gives us the right to cast moral judgment on people who lived through a horrible time"

If it was all right with people back then to illuminate a subject via Sci-Fi or comedy...it's certainly not my place now to assume a snooty TNG attitude of 'how enlightened we are today that we can call what they did tasteless'

I hadn't seen anyone approach the subject before from that angle.
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Old January 31 2014, 12:02 AM   #10
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

Sulu announces that after chasing the Gorn ship at Warp Eight, the Enterprise was suddenly brought to a dead stop! He says "It's impossible!" Kirk is similarly incredulous. His scripted line is: "From Warp Eight? Are you out of your mind?"

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
The trouble is, "Patterns of Force" doesn't lampoon them. The "fun" is our guys playing dress-up.

I recently read Paul Schneider's first draft script "Tomorrow the Universe", which later became "Patterns of Force", and it's interesting how close it is to "A Piece of the Action", which was produced only a few episodes earlier. To wit:
  1. The people of the planet are highly imitative
  2. Kirk orders a phaser strike from orbit which knocks out a crowd of Nazi soldiers on the street
  3. Kirk pretends the Federation is run by Nazis in order to put one over on the locals
WOW. I'm glad that didn't come to pass.

I just re-watched "Patterns of Force". It's quite good! It probably usually gets 2 1/2 to 3 stars among reviewers, but I think it's a near-classic. It's got a lot of nice Shatnerisms where he throws lines away* or mutters under his breath to make it more natural. As opposed to our modern actors who seem to be brainwashed that every. stinking. syllable. is the Word of God himself and must be eeeennnunnnciateddd.

Another thing I like about TOS is how they'll linger on a moment instead rushing the plot because that's how the writer was taught in Writing 101 (See: The scene where they get the transponders out...it takes time, Kirk mutters some stuff, they tell a couple of jokes with Spock on Kirk's back)

The story itself is very compelling. The guest actors very good.

*I'm still not sure what Kirk is saying in "Arena" when the ship loses warp speed...something like "Warp 8 are you crazy?"
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Old January 31 2014, 12:25 AM   #11
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

It should be noted that making fun of the Nazis and Japanese was quite common during WWII itself (though the "humor" directed toward the Japanese was hideously racist). The Axis powers were often mocked in theatrical cartoons, songs, and movies like Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be. Although there were contemporary critics who found it tasteless for Lubitsch's film to make light (so they thought) of the Nazi occupation of Poland. And once the truth about the Holocaust came out, it became harder to joke about the Nazis.

But in time, with some distance, it resumed, since mockery is often the best weapon. Mel Brooks, of course, is Jewish, but that didn't stop him from mocking the Nazis in The Producers, the remake of To Be..., and various other films. And pretty much all the major Nazi characters on Hogan's Heroes were played by Jewish actors (though Werner Klemperer was Jewish by heritage and raised Catholic), while Robert Clary, who played Cpl. LeBeau, was actually a survivor of the Buchenwald concentration camp. I'd say that if he thought it was okay to participate in a comedy about Nazis, the rest of us don't have much business complaining.


Hober Mallow wrote: View Post
It always amazed me that this scene was filmed even before the U.S. involvement in WWII.
Part of why movies like The Great Dictator were made was to try to encourage the American government to get involved in WWII. There were a lot of people in the country who wanted America to enter the war and were trying to drum up popular support for the idea, while there were others who objected to the notion, either out of isolationism or due to Nazi sympathies/business partnerships.



Dale Sams wrote: View Post
I just re-watched "Patterns of Force". It's quite good! It probably usually gets 2 1/2 to 3 stars among reviewers, but I think it's a near-classic. It's got a lot of nice Shatnerisms where he throws lines away* or mutters under his breath to make it more natural. As opposed to our modern actors who seem to be brainwashed that every. stinking. syllable. is the Word of God himself and must be eeeennnunnnciateddd.
Really? In my experience it's the other way around -- actors in older productions were stage-trained and so they delivered their lines very clearly and articulately, whereas once method acting caught on, actors began delivering lines more naturalistically and slurred their speech a lot. Shatner was actually kind of pioneering in trying for a more naturalistic, "making it up as I go" delivery. I haven't really gotten the sense that the trend has been reversing; I still often have trouble understanding dialogue in modern productions because of the more relaxed, less enunciated delivery of the actors.
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Old January 31 2014, 04:46 AM   #12
Nerys Myk
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

@Christopher Klink and Schultz weren't Nazis, just Germans serving in the military. The most prominent Nazi on the show was Major Hofstadter (also played by a Jewish actor).
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Old January 31 2014, 04:50 AM   #13
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

Also, who could hate Sgt. Schultz? Nobody, that's who.

Nobody. /shakes fist
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Old January 31 2014, 05:37 AM   #14
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
@Christopher Klink and Schultz weren't Nazis, just Germans serving in the military. The most prominent Nazi on the show was Major Hofstadter (also played by a Jewish actor).
Ah, okay. Still, the point stands.
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Old January 31 2014, 06:27 AM   #15
Wingsley
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Re: Space Nazis (and Hogan's Heroes)

"Patterns of Force"? Easily confused with HOGAN'S HEROES? Really?

(Somebody posted the pilot episode of HH on YouTube. It was essentially an ultra-cheesy rip-off of the acclaimed 1953 war movie Stalag 17.)

I never saw TOS as in any way making light of Nazism or World War II or even totalitarianism or genocide in general. I don't understand how anyone would come to that conclusion.

The only really stinging criticisms about TOS vis-a-vis "Patterns of Force" that I've ever heard were of the "planet of the Nazis"-as-a-cliché variety. This was a serious issue with a 1960's ground-breaking hour-long sci fi drama series for grown-ups as TOS obviously was. On its limited budget, it had to show the audience alien worlds being afflicted with all-too-human problems, and to make these problems recognizable to the audience. So we're left with a planet-of-the-Nazis trope. (Ironically, the big-budget attempt was called PLANET OF THE APES, released in movie theaters at about the same time, and it is still showered with praise.)

But comparing TOS to HOGAN'S HEROES??? Give me a break. Shatner seems to ham it up while dressed as a Nazi, which is embarrassing. But that's Shatner's "Look at me" acting style. What are we going to do next? Start comparing him to Bob Crane?

The only really questionable lines in the story were really Gill's notion that the Nazi state was somehow "efficient" (actually a misplaced appraisal of German aggression that was shockingly common back in the '60's) and Spock's ridiculously premature appraisal of Zeos and Ekos: "With the union of two cultures, this system would make a fine addition to the Federation."

That's still a ridiculously far cry from how HOGAN'S HEROES reduced the war in Europe to a farce, though. Trying to plant a flag in that pile of dung isn't going to pass muster.
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