Sunday, 19 January 2020

all hail hailstone!

Premiering in theatres a full nine months prior to the debut of Charlie Chapman’s The Great Dictator and at a time when America’s isolationist stance was strongly entrenched, the short film You Nazty Spy!—starring the Three Stooges as Europe’s up and coming fascist leaders, recruited and spurred into coups d’état by arms dealers Misters Ixnay, Onay and Amscray—was first shown on this day in 1940 and was the first Hollywood production to satirise the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler.
This production and similar lampoons helped raise public awareness of the threat of the Nazi regime and light comedy was generally not subject to the same scrutiny that the newly enacted Hays code applied to serious drama restricting overt political content and complying with the courtesy of lèse-majesté. The short opens with a title card disclaiming, “Any resemblance between characters in this picture and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle.”