Emil Bruckner: If it is necessary, I will die for the Führer!
Mike Frame: Oh, I see. You want to die.
Emil Bruckner: It is my duty. Are you – going to beat me?
Mike Frame: Well, since you find death so pleasant, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We’ll kill you first and beat you afterwards.
Screenplay, Tomorrow the World! (1944)
I watched a very interesting movie yesterday, Tomorrow the World ! (1944). Based on a successful Broadway play, it tells the story of a German boy, a completely indoctrinated Nazi, who comes to live with relatives in America after his mother dies. His father was a leader of the German resistance, murdered in a Nazi concentration camp. The boy, however, is a true believer in Hitler, who views his dead father as a traitor.
I was expecting a fairly lighthearted swift conversion of the Nazi youth to truth, justice and the American way. The film was quite different and not at all what I expected. Twelve year old Skip Homeier gives a chilling performance as Emil Bruckner. For the time it was fairly strong, including Bruckner denouncing his teacher, who is also the fiancee of his American uncle, as a “Jewish tramp”. Bruckner comes around eventually in a fairly unconvincing feel good ending, but the substance of the film was how difficult it is to change people who are heavily indoctrinated when young.
In the film Agnes Moorehead gives a great performance as the American Aunt of Emil, who he uses as a pawn in his schemes. When she sees him initially in his Hitler Jugend uniform she opines that all Germans should be exterminated. After two world wars, and casualty lists rapidly mounting, that was not an uncommon sentiment in the country in 1944. Under the Morgenthau Plan, proposed by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Germany after the war was to be de-industrialized and partitioned into harmless agricultural states. Fortunately wiser heads prevailed.
Skip Homeier died at age 86 in 2017. In the Star Trek episode Patterns of Force he returned to the Nazi ranks as the evil Deputy Fuehrer Melakon.