Hitchcock’s Pro-Nazi Film

France | 2023 | 84 min. | Daphné Baiwir

As WWII-era United States enlisted its greatest filmmakers to support the war effort through cinematic propaganda, even Alfred Hitchcock got involved. But with 1944’s Lifeboat, some believe that despite Hitch’s best intentions, he accidentally crafted a pro-German movie.

Director Daphne Baiwir and Producer Sebastien Cruz scheduled to attend.

As America entered the Second World War, Hollywood turned its efforts toward producing pro-Allied propaganda. Directors Frank Capra, John Ford, and William Wyler all served on the front lines documenting the Allied war effort. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s new master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, a loyal Brit by birth, was formulating his next project. After making Foreign Correspondent and Saboteur, two films advocating American entry into the war, Hitchcock collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winner John Steinbeck for his next film: Lifeboat, a chamber piece thriller in which eight shipwreck survivors drawn from a cross-section of society set aside their differences in order to survive on the open sea. Their camaraderie is further tested after rescuing the manipulative Nazi U-boat captain responsible for sinking their ocean liner. Stage sensation Tallulah Bankhead agreed to star—her first film in over a decade—alongside such great character actors as William Bendix, Hume Cronyn, and Walter Slezak. However, upon the film’s theatrical release, initial plaudits soon gave way to a critical backlash accusing the film of perpetuating the fallacy of Aryan supremacy while also exposing the inherent social divisions found within the Allied democracies. Providing a fascinating look at wartime Hollywood, Hitchcock’s Pro-Nazi Film examines how even the best intentions can be misread through the fog of war.

—Dan Doody

  • Original Language Title: Le Film pro-Nazi d’Hitchcock
  • Director: Daphné Baiwir
  • Principal Cast: Rob Milton (narr.), Tim Stephenson, Leda Ray, Jordan Hendrix, Katherine Priilove
  • Premiere Status: North American
  • Country: France
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 84 min.
  • Producer: Sebastien B. Cruz
  • Screenplay: Daphné Baiwir
  • Cinematographers: Sebastien Cruz
  • Editors: Daphné Baiwir, Sebastien Cruz
  • Music: Evgenii Diachenko
  • Filmography: King on Screen (2022), The Rebellious Olivia de Havilland (2021), Deauville and the American Dream (2020), Beyond Bars - RTBF (2016)
  • Language: English
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • US Distributor: Dark Star Pictures
  • International Sales: Dark Star Pictures