Letter: Nazis went 'back to basics'

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YOU CLAIM that the proven power of words and images gives cause for concern as regards the social impact of violent videos ('The violence that begets violence', 3 April).

Perhaps we should be less concerned than you suggest as your examples of such power - the Bible, Nazism - were backed by intricate ideological systems that video surely does not enjoy.

It is interesting to note that the openly propagandist films of the Nazis did not attract large audiences. Audiences tended to prefer operetta films, and Goebbels strategically promoted such films as a distraction from the harsh realities of wartime. Goebbels also sought to ensure that films did not portray violence graphically. In general, Nazi cinema was characterised by a 'back to basics' attitude: the horror film (a pinnacle of which was Nosferatu) and sexual exploration of earlier German cinema gave way to reverential historical reconstruction and crude endorsement of the monogamous couple.

It would be too much to say that this is exactly the kind of cinema that people like the MP David Alton would like, but all the same there is a lot here of which they would approve.

T A Butler

Watford

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