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Hitlerjunge Quex
(1933)

AKA: Hitlerjunge Quex: Ein Film vom Opfergeist der deutschen Jugend

Country: Germany

Genre: Drama

IMDb

Synopsis

Heini Völker (Jürgen Ohlsen) lives in poverty in Berlin with his mother and his Communist father. Invited to a weekend of camping with the Communist Youth Group, Heini finds himself uninterested in their activities, which seem to consist in smoking, drinking and a somewhat bored hedonism. Wandering off from the camp, he stumbles on a camp of Hitler Youth, and is attracted by their activities, such as swimming, and singing together as a group. Back home, Heini joins the local Hitler Youth group and is nicknamed 'Quex' (Quicksilver) for his zeal in carrying out his duties. He suffers various ordeals, including the suicide of his mother, and eventually dies by being stabbed to death by a Communist, thus becoming a National Socialist martyr. As he lies dying in his comrades' arms, he just has the strength to say with his last breath: "Uns're Fahne flattert uns voran" (literally, "Our flag flutters us forward").

Notes

  • Based on the 1932 novel of the same name by Karl Aloys Schenzinger, which in turn is based on the real-life story of Herbert Norkus.
  • The film's subtitle, "Ein Film vom Opfergeist der deutschen Jugend", means "A film about the sacrificial spirit of German youth".
  • Hitlerjunge Quex is one of three films about Nazi martyrs released in 1933, the other two being "SA-Mann Brand" and "Hans Westmar".
  • Jürgen Ohlsen, the boy who plays Quex, proved to be something of an embarrassment to the Nazis. By 1938, rumours of his homosexuality were so widespread that the verb "quexen" (literally "to quex") had entered the language as a slang term meaning to have homosexual sex.

Gallery

Picture for Hitlerjunge Quex

Cast

  • Jürgen Ohlsen
    (Heini Völker)
  • Heinrich George
    (Vater Völker)
  • Berta Drews
    (Mutter Völker)
  • Claus Clausen
  • Rotraut Richter
  • Hermann Speelmans
  • Hans Richter
    (Franz)
  • Ernst Behmer
  • Hansjoachim Büttner
  • Franziska Kinz
  • Rudolf Platte
  • Reinhold Bernt
  • Hans Deppe
  • Anna Müller-Lincke
  • Karl Meixner
  • Karl Hannemann
  • Ernst Rotmund
  • Hans Otto Stern
  • Hermann Braun

BoyActors Reviews

2 member reviews/ratings for this Movie

Average and Weighted Ratings are only available once a Movie has received at least 5 ratings

Most recent review listed first

Dividing Bar

Firstly, let's get one thing out of the way. It is hardly probable that people will respond to seeing this film by immediately donning their SS uniforms (kept carefully neat and pressed in their wardrobes) and goose-stepping down the Balls Pond Road. Expressions of hand-wringing concern over this movie are therefore completely absurd. The fact that the German government chooses to treat its citizens like small children whose little minds might be irreparably warped by the sight of a swastika should not lead us to take such an illiberal attitude. All art, as Oscar Wilde said, is absolutely immoral.

"Hitlerjunge Quex" is undoubtedly very finely acted, with a superbly constructed narrative, building the dramatic tension perfectly to its tragic denouement. Jürgen Ohlsen (as Heini) is utterly brilliant. Heini is such a sweet boy that one finds oneself rooting for him throughout. (And I don't believe this is something one can fake - that is, I am sure that Jürgen Ohlsen really was a sweet boy.) One curious thing about this film, though, is the almost total absence of politics in it. This may seem an odd thing to say about what is admittedly a Nazi propaganda film, but throughout the course of the film we learn nothing about the Nazi's political programme. If your knowledge of Communism and Nazism were derived solely from this film, you would hardly be able to guess that the two groups had differing political and economic philosophies. The only hint of politics in the film is that we are led to believe that the Communists stand for the 'proletariat', whilst the Nazis stand in some sense for a 'Germany' which includes, and transcends, all classes. But besides this vague hint, politics hardly figures at all. What Heini dislikes about the Communists is simply that they expect him to participate in activities (such as smoking, drinking and sexual interaction with women) that he has no interest in (and when he expresses his distaste, they tend to respond by belittling him). And what appeals to Heini about the Nazis is that they act more like a (slightly militarised) Boy Scout troupe. Having just watched this film for the second time, I believe I am correct in saying that there is not a single anti-semitic remark in the entire movie. This absence of politics might be considered dishonest, since it serves to obscure what the Nazi movement was actually about. But on the other hand, it is surely the film's salvation as a work of art. Had we discovered that Heini was beginning to take an anti-semitic stance, for example, we would no doubt have been alienated. But instead the film becomes a story about an incredibly sweet boy who struggles against adversity (and the poverty of his family) in order to do something worthwhile, to serve a movement that provides him, and other boys, with a sense of belonging and comradeship, but who suffers a tragic (though strangely beautiful and moving) death at the end. Such a tale is worth telling at any time, and it is what makes this a great film, and a 'must-see' for all devotees of boy actors and boy movies.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
Dividing Bar

Oh boy (so to speak). What to say about this one? It's not a brilliant work of art like Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will and Olympia, but it's a good movie. Also, it's of obvious historical value: the first significant Nazi film, based on a novel that was made required reading for members of the Hitler Youth. Of course, that also makes it, to say the least, disturbing. In Germany it's listed as a Vorbehaltsfilm, meaning that it can only be shown for educational purposes and then only at closed screenings preceded by a talk by a specialist. But YouTube does tend to make these kinds of regulations difficult to enforce...Yes, do see it: it's an important document, like Birth of a Nation, the 1940 Nazi Jud Süß and the Jew Süss made in 1934 in Britain by Germans who'd left Germany when the Nazis came to power, including Conrad Veidt, who'd also appeared in the first gay-rights film: 1919's Different from the Others.

Must Watch My Movie Rating: Red StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed StarRed Star 9 / 10
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Page Last Modified: 21st September 2017
Page Added: 29th August 2017

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