Thursday, 10 August 2017

Hitler on the Air

The Sydney Morning Herald 21 Sep 1940 p. 10.

"The Shadow of the Swastika," by A. L. Lloyd and Igor Vinogradoff. John Lane, the Bodley Head.

It was estimated by the B.B.C. that 12,000,000 people listened to this radio drama of the story of the German National Socialist Party when it was produced in six parts during November and December of last year and January of this.

Perhaps not all of this interest is due to the merit of the script and the production, but the two authors seem to have developed the radio chronicle-play, based on considerable research, to a high pitch, and a numerous cast, which included a Goring to play Hitler, must have given it all the scope it needed.

A narrator holds the scenes together, utters comment and even direct warning to the principal character. The first scene is in August, 1914, with Germany going to war; the last shows the same situation in September, 1939.

In between move and speak all the important personages of that time-except Chamberlain. Indeed, the only English character is Sir Nevile Henderson. Excitement is maintained at such a pitch that the main incidents in the rise of the Nazis do not emerge the reading quite so clearly as they might, but altogether the play forms an effective compression of fateful years of history and gives a strong picture of German life and strife.

A word must be said for the grim "photo-montages" by G R Morris. These achieve, more vividly, a similar work of compression and suggestion.

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