BERLIN — Films shot on 3D in pre-war Nazi Germany have been unearthed in Berlin’s Federal Archives.
Two 30 minute black and white propaganda films in 1936 were found by Australian director Philippe Mora, who is prepping a feature length documentary on how the Nazis used images to manipulate reality.
Mora broke new ground with his first film “Swastika” when it was released in 1973 featuring previously unseen color footage from Hitler’s “home” movies shot on a 16mm camera by his mistress Eva Braun at the Berghof mountain retreat at Obersalzberg in the Bavarian alps.
Now he has discovered that the Nazis were decades ahead of Hollywood in developing a medium first popularized in the 1950s and now enjoying an international renaissance.
“The films are shot on 35mm — apparently with a prism in front of two lenses,” Mora who is at the Berlinale for his planned $13 million 3D biopic on Salvador Dali, starring Alan Cumming and Judy Davis that he plans to shoot in Germany, Australia and Spain.
“They were made by an independent studio for Goebbels’ propaganda ministry and referred to as ‘raum film’ — or space film — which may be why no one ever realised since that they were 3D.”
One film, a musical set during a carnival entitled “So Real You Can Touch It” features close up shots of sizzling bratwurst on a barbeque; the other “Six Girls Roll into Weekend” has what may be UFA studio starlets living it up.
“The quality of the films is fantastic. The Nazis were obsessed with recording everything and every single image was controlled — it was all part of how they gained control of the country and its people,” Mora said.
He plans to incorporate the material in a 3D section of his documentary — working title “How the Third Reich Was Recorded” — and is convinced there is more vintage 3D footage out there to be found.