May 27, 2014
Probably no other contemporary actor has portrayed Adolf Hitler and various other Nazi leaders more times, at least in such a stoically campy fashion, than unambiguously gay German character actor Udo Kier (Blood for Dracula, Nárcisz és Psyché), with his role as a sort of scatological ‘Asshole Shitler’ in Christoph Schlingensief’s spastic satire 100 Jahre Adolf Hitler - Die letzte Stunde im Führerbunker (1989) aka 100 Jahre Adolf Hitler - Die letzte Stunde im Führerbunker being one of the most devastatingly deranged depictions of the Führer in all of cinema history. While Schlingensief’s Hitler flick is not exactly well known, it is certainly better known the 29-minute British dark comedy short Mrs. Meitlemeihr (2002) directed and co-written by successful advert man turned would-be-filmmaker Graham Rose, co-penned by English actor Jeff Rawle (Billy Liar, Drop the Dead Donkey) and starring Herr Kier as Big H in old hag drag. Indeed, a work of degenerate historical fantasy, Graham’s film depicts a decidedly desperate Hitler disguised as a woman and hiding out in late-1940s rubble-ridden London amongst assorted human rabble. Needless to say, Mrs. Meitlemeihr is in the timeless British tradition of being resentful regarding the Second World War and thus features a one-dimensional depiction of Hitler as an intolerable and intolerant raving buffoon, albeit this time wearing a granny wig and dress. Undoubtedly, the big twist of the film is that a perverted old Jewish widow becomes obsessed with attempting to get inside Hitler’s granny panties, not realizing that he is trying to fuck the great Führer himself. Keeping that dubious and easy-to-botch premise in mind, it is easy to see why Mrs. Meitlemeihr, which was originally intended as demo piece to entice prospective investors for a bigger and more elaborate production, was never made into a full-length feature film as was originally planned by Mr. Rose. If there is any group that hates Hitler and the Germans more than the Jews, it is indubitably the Brits, and with good reason. While the Jews at least got their first official nation in thousands of years out of the holocaust, the Second World War not only cost the Brits their empire and domination of the world, but also their pride and dignity. As revealed in the great German documentary The Fine Art of Separating People from Their Money (1998) directed by Hermann Vaske and hosted by Dennis Hopper, like the Jews, the Brits adopted comedy as a way to relieve their pain and naturally Uncle Adolf became the incessant butt of the jokes for countless hack England comedians and has remained so for no less than over half a century. With the somewhat recent taboloid rumor that Hitler went into hiding after the Second World War, died in South America in 1984 at the age of 95, and even had a negress girlfriend, I felt a little bit eager about watching a film as seemingly as stupid and insipid regarding the National Socialist leader's imaginary post-WWII years and Mrs. Meitlemeihr certainly fit the bill as a work that also once again demonstrates that the English have an unhealthy obsession with men wearing dresses.
It is April 1945 and Adolf Hitler (Udo Kier) has decided to opt out on his part of his suicide pact with his long-term companion Eva Braun (Tara Ward), who he married only less than 40 hours before she put a bullet in her brain. Indeed, bloated bastard Martin Bormann (Hendrik Arnst) has a transport ready for Hitler to escape to Argentina, as they plan to start building a Fourth Reich from scratch once they get settled in their new adopted homeland. To fake big H’s death, a SS man shoots a nerdy man that vaguely resembles the Führer in the head and uses his corpse as a body double for the Allies to find. Flash forward to November 1947 and somehow Uncle Adolf did not make it to scenic Argentina, as he is now stuck in an impoverished white ghetto in London, even complaining in a letter to his boy Bormann: “My struggle to exist here is becoming intolerable. Still no papers! Every day I wait, but nothing. Since our last communication, the money is all but gone. I’m starving. And have been reduced to filth and squalor. How much longer must I endure this humiliation? This room where I must remain prisoner is a living nightmare. I fear, above all, that my identity will be revealed. I dare not venture out, but I must! My health is deteriorating by the day. You’re my only hope and salvation. In the name of the Fatherland, I beg of you, Bormann…Communicate!” The fallen Führer is so poor that he does not even have a stamp to send the letter, so he has to go to the post office to buy one with what little money he has left. To hide his identity, Hitler decides to dress in drag and use the alias Mrs. Meitlemeihr. Unfortunately for Adolf, there is an exceedingly annoying Jewish widow that lives in London that has a thing for somewhat masculine Fräuleins.
On the way to the post office, some rotten little sub-literate Brit boys playing with a rugged dummy with a Hitler mask make the mistake of begging Hitler for money, but the cross-dressing Wagnerian Übermensch is not amused by the lads’ crude cardboard caricature of him, so he states in German, “What insolence. You ought to be locked up.” When Hitler finally gets to the post-office, the elderly clerk, who is hard at hearing, has a very hard time understanding what the lapsed Nazi messiah is saying, so he states under his breath, “I hate zee handicapped.” After leaving the post office, Hitler is followed by a Jewish widow named Lenny Veldermann (John Levitt) who, for whatever reason, is rather attracted to the world’s most infamous anti-Semite. It turns out that Lenny—a stereotypically sleazy, pushy, and wisecracking Hebrew—lives in the same dilapidated apartment building as Uncle Adolf. Needless to say, Lenny invites himself over to Hitler’s apartment for dinner without actually getting permission, as he hopes to get lucky with Herr Hitler. While Hitler complains, “I’ve been betrayed…forgotten. FORGOTTEN! Hated!,” during the dinner, the Jew self-righteously states that the Germans must “accept their guilt” for the holocaust. Needless to say, Hitler becomes infuriated and hatefully shouts, “The Germans will rise again” and then states in German, “The German spirit…will be the world’s salvation.” When the two men get drunk and Hitler passes out, Veldermann attempts to take advantage of the unconscious Führer, but when the Jew reaches up his dress to cop a feel, he screams “a cock” and a brawl breaks out between the two born adversaries. After strangling the Jew and stating “Jewish bastard pig,” Hitler has a bottle smashed over his head and some sort of broom shoved up his rectum. In an act of would-be-poetic-justice, the Jew attempts to gas Hitler by shoving his head in a gas oven, but the two men pass out before the final solution can be fully carried out. The next day, Veldermann realizes that Mrs. Meitlemeihr is actually Hitler after noticing a stain of dried blood covering Uncle Adolf’s upper lip that resembles the great dictator's iconic Charlie Chaplin mustache. After the Jew goes back to his room, a postal worker attempts to deliver a letter to Hitler from Martin Bormann and presses extra hard on the door bell to get the mysterious tenant's attention, thus causing the entire apartment to blow up in the process after a spark from the poorly wired door bell ignites the gas from the stove that filled up the apartment the previous during the sissy Aryan versus Hebrew slapstick brawl. Indeed, in the end, Adolf Hitler ironically dies in a literal holocaust.
Undoubtedly, in terms of subversive British Hitler humor, Mrs. Meitlemeihr is nothing new. On top of the never released black comedy Son of Hitler (1978) starring Bud Cort as the eponymous lead and Peter Cushing as a neo-nazi leader, the short-lived British sitcom Heil Honey I'm Home! (1990) portrayed Hitler and Eva Braun living next door to a Judaic couple named the Goldensteins. Of course, Heil Honey I'm Home! was cancelled after the first episode, so it should be no surprise that Mrs. Meitlemeihr never developed into the extravagant feature film that director Graham Rose intended it to be. While I was not exactly impressed with the short, I must give props to Mr. Rose for siring such a preposterous film that is, if nothing else, in rather poor taste and would probably offend the likes of overrated kosher comedian Mel Brooks, who practically made a living off of poking fun at Hitler and the Nazis. Interestingly, it is revealed in the British documentary Hitler: The Comedy Years (2007) directed by Jacques Peretti—a work that goes into rather deplorable detail about why Uncle Adolf has become a mainstay of British comedy for over the past half-century or so—that McEnglish comedian Spike Milligan was obsessed with Hitler in such an unhealthy and all-consuming fashion that he suffered a mental breakdown in Italy and had to be hospitalized for a while. Without question, Mrs. Meitlemeihr also demonstrates this sort of post-WWII Hitler-mania, as another one of the countless examples as to why the British seem to suffer from sort of mass reverse Hitlerite psychosis. Unquestionably, the film’s greatest strength is star Udo Kier’s typically over-the-top camp-addled performance, thus making the film a somewhat worthwhile endeavor for fans of the queer kraut character actor. Of course, as a man who used to dress in drag while working as a transvestite prostitute (with his bud R.W. Fassbinder being his pimp!) during his pre-acting career years, Kier probably did not have to put much effort into his role for Mrs. Meitlemeihr. It should also be noted that Kier's very first acting role was in the British short film Road to Saint Tropez (1966) directed by English actor/auteur Michael Sarne (Joanna, Myra Breckinridge). More recently, Kier played a small role as a futuristic Führer in the patently pathetically politically correct multiculturalist sci-fi-comedy Iron Sky (2012). Of course a film featuring a cross-dressing Hitler being quasi-date-raped by a rather repugnant Hebrew is easier to digest than a cowardly miscegenation-saluting agitprop piece of celluloid scheiß like Iron Sky where a blonde Nordic Nazi babe ends up falling in love with an American negro astronaut. One must also give credit to Mrs. Meitlemeihr for not concluding with a sickeningly sentimental and conspicuously cliche quasi-commie speech about the need for tolerance like Chaplin's The Great Dictator (1940). Apparently, Hitler, who was a cinephile of sorts, viewed Chaplin's film no less than two times, but no one actually knows what the Führer thought of the film. Personally, I would be me interested to know what Hitler would think of thought of Mrs. Meitlemeihr. Of course, as a man who was once best buds with a beer-chugging and brown-shirted sodomite like Sturmabteilung commander Ernst Röhm, loved the work of German symbolist painter Franz von Stuck, and bought the rather sexually subversive painting "Leda and the Swan" by Paul Mathias Padua, which was exhibited at the Great German Art Show of 1937 in Munich, Hitler may have been many things, but he was no prude and I am sure he would have gotten a laugh or two out of Mrs. Meitlemeihr, even if he probably would have had director Graham Rose executed were he given the chance.
Posted by Soiled Sinema at 2:32 PM
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