The Great King
|The Great King|
|Directed by||Veit Harlan|
|Edited by||Friedrich Karl von Puttkamer|
The Great King (German: Der große König) is a 1942 German drama film directed by Veit Harlan and starring Otto Gebühr. It depicts the life of Frederick the Great, who ruled Prussia from 1740 to 1786. It received the rare "Film of the Nation" distinction. It was part of a popular cycle of "Prussian films".
The film is a depiction of the Führerprinzip, with the analogy to Adolf Hitler being so clear that Hitler sent a print to Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Goebbels warned against the drawing of the comparison in print, in particular, because of the pessimistic mood that opens the film. After a sergeant gives an unauthorised order, the king orders him simultaneously promoted and punished. His decision to desert after this results in his death, because no disobedience is justified. Goebbels declared that the parallels were not a matter of propaganda, but an obvious result of the parallels of history.
Goebbels also regarded it as instructive that current sufferings would be a source of strength.
Goebbels had some difficulty with the Army High Command over this film, because it depicted the king left in the lurch by his general. He complained that the army felt that any depiction, however historical, reflected badly on them.
- Otto Gebühr as Friedrich II.
- Kristina Söderbaum as Luise Treskow
- Gustav Fröhlich as Treskow
- Hans Nielsen as Niehoff
- Paul Wegener as General Czernitscheff
- Paul Henckels as Grenadier Spiller
- Elisabeth Flickenschildt as Spiller's Wife
- Kurt Meisel as Alfons
- Hilde Körber as Elisabeth
- Claus Clausen as Prinz Heinrich der Ältere
- Klaus Detlef Sierck as Prinz Heinrich der Jüngere
- Herbert Hübner as Graf Finkenstein
- Franz Schafheitlin as Oberst Bernburg
- Otto F. Henning as General von Finken
- Reginald Pasch as General Manteufel
- "New York Times: The Great King". NY Times. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
- Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p116 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
- Erwin Leiser, Nazi Cinema p113-4 ISBN 0-02-570230-0
- Pierre Aycoberry The Nazi Question, p10 Pantheon Books New York 1981
- Cinzia Romani, Tainted Goddesses: Female Film Stars of the Third Reich p93 ISBN 0-9627613-1-1