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Disney: Der Fuehrer's Face
So ve "Heil! Heil!" right in Der Fuehrer's Face!

"Der Fuehrer's Face" is a 1943 animated cartoon by the Walt Disney Studios, starring Donald Duck. It was directed by Jack Kinney and released on January 1, 1943, as an anti-Nazi propaganda movie for the American war effort. Originally called "Donald Duck in Nutzi Land," it was retitled when the theme song by Oliver Wallace became a hit as performed by Spike Jones.

The short depicts Donald as an oppressed citizen of "Nutzi Land", The Theme Park Version of war-time Germany where almost everything is shaped like a swastika or an allusion to Hitler. He soon finds himself forced to work 48 hours every day to produce shells for the Fuehrer's war effort. Eventually he goes mad from stress, only to wake up home in America, relieved that his previous experience was All Just a Dream.

The film won the 1943 Academy Award for Animated Short Film, and was the only Donald Duck cartoon to win an Oscar. In 1994, it was voted #22 of "The 50 Greatest Cartoons" of all time by members of the animation field.


Tropes:

  • Adolf Hitlarious
  • All Just a Dream
  • Black Market Produce: As a citizen of Nazi Germany, Donald Duck's breakfast consists of wooden bread, aroma of bacon and eggs, and coffee from a single bean he keeps locked in a safe.
  • Blowing a Raspberry: Does this after each "HEIL!"
  • Camp Gay: Just watch the Hermann-Göring-clone swing his hips when he sings about Nazi "super-duper Supermen!" (And those eyelashes...)
  • Curse Cut Short: Part of the song goes, "Ven der Fuehrer yells, 'I gotta have more shells!'/Ve 'Heil! Heil!' For him, ve make more shells./If one leetle shell should blow him right to— *CLANG!* (Donald bumps into a much bigger bomb)/Ve 'Heil! Heil!' And vouldn't that be svell?"
  • Disney Acid Sequence: When Donald is driven to madness, he has one of these toward the end of the short.
  • Driven to Madness: Donald, toward the end due to working overtime, which leads to the Disney Acid Sequence.
  • Eagleland: When Donald wakes up, he is wearing pajamas with stars and stripes, his room is decorated red, white, and blue, and he even has a small Statue of Liberty in the window. Donald kisses the statue in relief to realize that he lives in the USA. Definitely Flavor 1, though justified since of course this was a wartime propaganda cartoon.
  • Facial Profiling: Far more offensive than the Nazi imagery (but garnering far less attention these days) is the incredibly racist caricature of the then-Japanese Emperor, Hirohito. This was standard in wartime cartoons, of course, and Warner Brothers was doing far nastier stuff at the time.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: At one point, an exasperated Donald Duck says, "Hell" instead of "Heil" (though, with the way Donald talks, you wouldn't know it from hearing).
  • Hail To The Thief: The title song pays extremely mocking "respect" to Hitler.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When the Japanese sousaphone player clarifies the question, "Is ve not the Supermen?" with an "Ahryan, pure-a Supamen?" This is a joke on how in Real Life, Hitler had styled the Japanese 'honorary Aryans'.
  • I Ate What?: Germany's so poor that instead of bacon, eggs and toast for breakfast, Donald has to sustain himself with a perfume scented like bacon & eggs, and cutting a slice of bread - so stale it requires a saw - to chew on. On the other side of the spectrum, he has a single coffee bean to flavor his water with, but he doesn't get a chance to drink it in the cartoon.
    • Donald having to saw the bread is actually a reference to the fact that, in those days, sawdust was put into the bread to save on using flour.
  • Improvised Clothes: Donald's Nazi uniform is made of paper.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Though it's been released on DVD through the Walt Disney Treasures collection, it was banned for a long time before that, never run on Disney Channel or released on VHS.
  • Nazi Protagonist: Donald. Thankfully, it turns out to be a dream.
  • No Swastikas: Inverted. EVERYTHING in this cartoon has a swastika on it, including a fire hydrant, a telephone pole, and one soldier's underwear.
    • Hell, even the clouds, trees and telephone poles are shaped like swastikas.
    • Donald's house is shaped exactly like Hitler's face.
    • When Donald is given a "vacation", he is forced to do aerobics in the shape of the swastika.
  • Poirot Speak: "Into the clothes get!"
  • Produce Pelting: The film concludes, fittingly, with a caricature of Hitler's face being pelted by a ripe tomato. Its dripping remains spell out "The End."
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The opening credits quote Richard Wagner's "Meistersinger Overture," no doubt satirically as the Nazis admired Wagner's music.
  • Ring Ring Crunch
  • Sigil Spam: Swastikas are everywhere in Nutzi Land. See the No Swastikas entry.
  • Stealth Parody: Was actually reverse parodied many, many years later in "The Simpsons," when an episode talked about the history of Itchy & Scratchy and its creator, Roger Myers Sr. The concept falls into Older Than They Think for many younger viewers. The episode reveals that Myers Sr. created a pro-Nazi Itchy & Scratchy cartoon that was quickly shelved into Canon Discontinuity.
  • Take That, Hitler! In your face!
  • Those Wacky Nazis
  • Token Minority: Hirohito
  • User Operation Prohibit Flag: In an attempt to nip misunderstandings in the bud, The Disney Wartime Cartoon DVD features non-skippable, non-fast-forwardable commentaries by Leonard Maltin, who explains the satirical nature of the cartoon. Given that any reasonable person would have a takeaway of "Those Wacky Nazis suck" from the film, this also probably counts as Viewers Are Morons, but it's probably better to be safe when it comes to Nazi stuff, especially if you're the Disney Corporation and your original creator (Walt Disney) has been hounded with allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer at worst and an anti-Semite at best.
  • The Villain Sucks Song
  • Wartime Cartoon


Classic Disney ShortsFilms of the 1940sEducation for Death
Coal Black and de Sebben DwarfsThe 50 Greatest CartoonsThe Tell Tale Heart
Clock CleanersAnimated FilmsDonald In Mathmagic Land
Donald DuckThe FortiesEducation for Death
Symphony HourWesternAnimation/Classic Disney ShortsEducation for Death
The Mad ScientistAcademy Award For Best Animated Short FilmBlitz Wolf

alternative title(s): Der Fuehrers Face
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