Tomorrow sees the release of Valkyrie, director Bryan Singer’s thriller about a real life plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler planned by some of his own Third Reich officers. Granted, the film is probably not the most holiday-themed film to open on Christmas Day. In its place, we’d like to offer a more seasonal-oriented film with ties to Nazi Germany, the animated short The Snowman.
Produced in 1943, The Snowman is the brainchild of director and animator Hans Fischerkoesen. But unlike a majority of films produced in Nazi Germany during the war years, this not a piece of Third Reich propoganda. In fact, Fischerkoesen was a member of an underground resistance group composed primarily of artists. Where other German films of the period always made sure to emphasize the virtues of Germany – Werner Klingler’s 1944 Titanic featured a heroic German first officer whose continuous warnings about the dangers of the North Atlantic ice flow that the ship was steaming through went ignored by the greedy and vain English owners of the White Star Line – Fischerkoesen’s short has a sense of whimsical innocence that recalls the work of the Fleischer Brothers.
Most sources put the cartoon’s length at about 13 minutes, but the longest version that is online clocks in at just over 10 minutes but only seems to be missing some opening titles. Enjoy.
You can learn more about the life of animator Hans Fischerloesen in this wonderful article by William Moritz.