Oliver Stone believes he can show us that Hitler got a bad break, he wants to show us the human side of Hitler. Maybe he has watched the movie the Producers too many times, and he believes Franz Liebkind’s lines like, Not many people know it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer, or Hitler… there was a painter! He could paint an entire apartment in ONE afternoon! TWO coats!
The movie director, producer, and conspiracy theorist is on a publicity tour for a television project, where he wants to provide a ‘more factual representation’ of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.
Oliver Stone has never been one to spot a historical controversy without steaming towards it, but the latest project from the film-maker behind JFK and W threatens to pitch him into more dangerously hot water than ever before.
The director is battening down the hatches already, saying he fully expects “ignorant attacks” on a new documentary series in which he is promising to “liberalise” Hitler and to finger US corporations for their role in the rise of National Socialism in Germany.
Launching Oliver Stone’s Secret History of America, the director promised to lay bare the military-industrial complex his fictionalised movie JFK blamed for a conspiracy to kill one president, and which Stone now says is trapping Barack Obama into the errors of his predecessors.
“I don’t want to put out a conventional History Channel product where it’s easy to like it,” the 63-year-old director said. “You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate.
“I’ve been able to walk in Stalin’s shoes and Hitler’s shoes to understand their point of view. We’re going to educate our minds and liberalise them and broaden them. We want to move beyond opinions … go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM? Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated.”
Hard to take a walk in Hitler or Stalin’s shoes when you haven’t killed millions of people.
Stone unveiled a trailer for his Secret History at the Television Critics Association’s biannual press tour in Pasadena, California, and even his collaborators appeared nervous. As the director promised empathy with leaders who ordered mass murder, Peter Kuznick, the history professor drafted in as lead writer, leapt in to clarify: “He’s not saying we’re going to come out with a more positive view of Hitler. But we’re going to describe him as a historical phenomenon and not just somebody who appeared out of nowhere.” Stone promised not to judge historical figures as “bad” or “good” and countered: “Obviously, Rush Limbaugh is not going to like this history. As usual, we’re going to get those kind of ignorant attacks.”
…..”Stalin, Hitler, Mao, McCarthy – these people have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history. Stalin has a complete other story. Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any single person.”
Hitler has been “an easy scapegoat” throughout history for forces that were bigger than one man, Stone says, and – warming to the theme in Pasadena – he said that the same complex of interests between corporations and the military were still at work today.
Scapegoat huh? I think Oliver Stone has had a bit too much to drink.