Bill Donohue comments on an article in the Hollywood Reporter by Ben Urwand that is an excerpt from his forthcoming book, The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler:
Not only did the Hollywood studios obediently bow to Hitler’s masters by killing scenes deemed objectionable, they even hired Nazis at Paramount to work with them. The head of MGM in Germany actually acceded to a request by Hitler’s henchmen to divorce his Jewish wife; she wound up in a concentration camp.
Standing against the Hollywood moguls, Urwand says, was Joseph Breen, the Irish Catholic official who worked for, and eventually succeeded, Will Hays of the so-called Hays Office; the private association monitored Hollywood movies for objectionable fare. Looks like Breen’s commitment to decency trumped Hollywood’s commitment to cash.
Breen was not a fan of the way Hollywood conducted itself, but he did not balk when asked by the two authors of the Hays Code, Martin Quigley and Jesuit priest Father Daniel Lord, to make a public statement condemning anti-Semitism in 1939. Meanwhile, those who ran the movie industry were cutting and splicing their films to meet Nazi approval.
Hollywood hasn’t changed a bit. Today, it is in bed with Communist censors in China, inviting them on to its sets to offer advice on what is acceptable and what is not. If they don’t cooperate with the slave masters, they risk having their films spiked: the violent film “Django Unchained” was pulled from Chinese theaters on opening day in April.
When the Catholic League merely criticizes a movie, we are tagged a censor. When Hollywood studio chiefs cooperate with Chinese government agents by altering their films, they find ways to congratulate themselves. For example, Steven Soderbergh welcomes the input of Communist censors: “It’s fascinating to listen to people’s interpretation of your story.” He must have learned his obsequiousness from those who collaborated with Hitler.