Post Election Day November 8, 2016:
I had been asked earlier this year what I thought of Donald Trump. That was like being asked what I thought of Adolph Hitler. But rather than going into the gory details, I decided to make a little comedy sketch with my two young talented friends Seth Garben and Jacob Grodnik. It was called “NAZI MAN!”, and showed a couple of American method actors complaining how the British have stolen all the good parts in Hollywood, before becoming confronted with Rudy, the idiot younger brother of Adolph, who has been hiding in a bunker for 70 years, emerging with the avowed intention of making Nazi Germany great again.
But the times they are a-changing, and it’s no longer de rigueur to make fun of the Donald, who is now our president-elect. Hey, he might come after YOU if you don’t straighten up. And you’d lose the chance to be part of his cabinet. So I’m taking down this spoof, to be on the safe side.
However, the story of how we made it on the sly is worth telling, so I’ll leave that up.
I don’t usually believe in revealing how movie magic is made, but progress says it’s old-fashioned to hold that view. These days everybody’s a movie maker, and wants to know. It seems that people are able to somehow suspend their disbelief when it suits them, so a little back story here.
We shot it on the sly, and the reason was that displaying the Swastika in public is, well, unwise. Illegal in most European countries, we’re told.
We went to Western Costume to get me be-garbed in the genuine Hitler uniform, which they have hanging on their racks. It’s tan and very understated. Swastika, Iron Cross etc, and much medal bling. We paid their rent for a week, and then the manager came charging out and refused to let us take it off the premises! He said it was their policy to rent genuine Nazi uniforms only to big studio productions, and here we were, a tiny independent. A solution was quickly needed.
That’s how we came up with the fairly innocuous but genuine leather Lederhosen, which, though expensive, we bought. Then we shot on a Sunday and holiday when everything was closed, and – just lucky, actually – no cop cars were to be seen to check on whether we’d obtained permits and whatnot. We hadn’t.
Update: Producers renamed this spoof “Make America Great Again (parody)” There are several videos with similar titles, and runaway views in the millions. Ours not.
What shocks me for the future of the medium is that viewers are watching old copyrighted movies with the animated faces of Trump and Hillary and Obama simply pasted on. Check out these hijacking examples: A “sword and sandals” epic along with “The Terminator”. I have to admit that “Making America Great Again (Donald Trump parody)” is very funny
but the law needs to be changed if the ownership of intellectual property is to mean anything. Every movie ever made could be used and abused in this way under the umbrella protection of “Parody”. A “with apologies to . . .” would be helpful, but that’s presuming the cult of ethics still exists in its old form. Hence lawyers.