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D der ff
D der ff poster

Der Fuehrer's Face is a Donald Duck short released 1 January 1943.

Summary

A German oom-pah band composed of Axis leaders Joseph Goebbels on trombone, Heinrich Himmler on snare drum, Hirohito on sousaphone, Hermann Göring on piccolo, and Benito Mussolini on bass drum, sings the virtues of the Nazi doctrine and marches noisily at four o'clock in the morning through a small town where the trees, windmills, fence posts, and even the clouds are shaped like swastika. As they near Donald Duck's house, Donald is heiling to the song in his sleep. His alarm clock with all the numbers replaced with swastikas rings and he smashes it. The bird in his cuckoo clock, dressed up as Hitler, heils as a clock chime, and Donald throws a shoe at it. Passing by Donald's house, they poke him out of bed with a bayonet to get ready for work. Here Donald then faces and heils the portraits of the Fuehrer, the Emperor, and Il Duce, then goes to fix himself breakfast.

Because of wartime rationing, Donald's breakfast consists of bread that is so stale and hard it resembles wood and must be sliced using a saw, coffee brewed from a single hoarded coffee bean, and an aromatic spray that smells like bacon and eggs. The band shoves a copy of Mein Kampf in front of him for a moment of reading, then marches into his house and escorts him to a factory with Donald now carrying the bass drum and Göring kicking him.

Upon arriving at the factory at bayonet-point, Donald starts his 48-hour daily shift screwing caps onto artillery shells in an assembly line. Mixed in with the shells are portraits of the Fuehrer, so he must perform the Hitler salute every time a portrait appears, all the while screwing the caps onto shells, much to Donald's disgust. Each new batch of shells is of a different size, ranging from individual bullets to massive shells, as large as Donald if not larger. The pace of the assembly line intensifies and Donald finds it increasingly hard to complete all the tasks. At the same time, he is bombarded with propaganda messages about the superiority of the Aryan race and the glory of working for the Fuehrer.

After a "paid vacation" that consists of making swastika shapes with his body for a few seconds in front of a painted backdrop of the Alps as exercise, Donald is ordered to work overtime. He has a nervous breakdown with hallucinations of artillery shells everywhere, some of which are snakes and birds, some sing and are the same shape of the marching band from the start, music and all.

When the hallucinations clear, he finds himself in his bed, and realizes that the whole experience was a nightmare, but he sees the shadow of a figure holding its right hand up in the form of a Nazi salute. He begins to do so himself until he realizes that it is the shadow of a miniature Statue of Liberty, holding her torch high in her right hand. Remembering he is in the United States, he embraces the statue, grateful of his US citizenship.

A tomato is thrown at a caricature of Hitler's angry face, and forms the words "The End".

Trivia

  • Some of the animation from Donald's hallucination sequence is recycled from the "Pink Elephants on Parade" sequence of Dumbo.
  • This was the only Donald Duck film to win an Academy Award.
  • Because of the subject matter of the short, and the depiction of Donald Duck as a Nazi, Disney kept the film out of general circulation after its original release.