name = Schtonk!
writer = Helmut Dietl
Götz George Uwe Ochsenknecht Christiane Hörbiger
released = 1992
runtime = 115 min.
country = GER
language = German
imdb_id = 0105328
Subtitled "Der Film zum Buch vom Führer" ("The film accompanying the "
Führer's" book"), the movie is a grotesque farce about the events when, in 1983, German "Stern" magazine began to publish, with great fanfare, the 60 volumes of the alleged diaries of Adolf Hitler– which two weeks later turned out to be entirely fake. That story is commonly described one of the greatest failures of modern journalism overall.
The film is widely considered a hilarious tale, making fun not only of the events and characters who were involved in the hoax, and who are only thinly disguised in the movie, but also of the discomfort Germany has with its difficult past. It is especially fun to viewers familiar with the country.
The film is co-written and directed by
Helmut Dietland, among his many respected comedies, frequently considered his best. Dietl researched the scandal for two years and has been quoted as having to leave out several real events from the movie because they were too outrageous.
The title is a bow to
Charlie Chaplin's classic " The Great Dictator", in which the "Fooey" repeatedly uses "Schtonk!" as an expression of disgust – the word has no meaning in German but resembles to "Stunk", a colloquial expression for a scuffle or altercation.
Fritz Knobel (the movie's alter-ego of real-life forger
Konrad Kujau) supports himself by faking and selling Nazi memorabilia. So he sells a portrait of Eva Braunand one volume of Hitler's alleged diaries to factory owner Karl Lenz. Lenz presents this on a "birthday party to the "Führer" to his guests, among them sleazy journalist Hermann Willié. Willié is working for the magazine "HH press" (real-world "Stern" magazine is located in Hamburg, which is abbreviated "HH" on German car license plates; "HH" is pronounced "haha", German for "haw-haw"). In the events Knobel writes down according to what happens around him; after he meets his later lover Martha, she becomes his inspiration for Eva Braun. When he has stomach trouble, he writes, "Die übermenschlichen Anstrengungen der letzten Zeit verursachen mir Blähungen im Darmbereich, und Eva sagt, ich habe Mundgeruch." ("The superhuman strains of late have caused me flatulence in the intestinal area [Literal translation. Hitler's writings are known for a similarly wordy and awkward style; see e.g. Mein Kampf#Murphy translation.] , and Eva says I have bad breath.") As he then comes under increasing stress, having to deliver the remaining volumes that he had already sold, he turns more and more into a mock image of Hitler himself.
Since the circulation of "Stern" had been in decline for years at the time since its glory days under editor
Henri Nannen(and has been since then), the depiction of its "HH press" movie counterpart and the people who are running it is also quite telling.
In 1993, the film "Schtonk!" was nominated for an Academy Award in the category "Best Foreign Language Film" (losing it to the French film "Indochine"), as well as for a Golden Globe in the same category (losing it to "Indochine" just as well).
In 1992, "Schtonk!" won 3 Film Awards in Gold at the "German Film Awards" in the categories "Outstanding Feature Film", "Outstanding Individual Achievement: Actor" (Götz George), and "Outstanding Individual Achievement: Direction" (Helmut Dietl), as well as the Best Screenplay Award at the "Tokyo International Film Festival" (Helmut Dietl, Ulrich Limmer). In 1993, Harald Juhnke won the "Ernst Lubitsch Award" for his role as Pit Kummer in "Schtonk!"
Götz George– Hermann Willié (journalist; fictional equivalent of Gerd Heidemann)
Uwe Ochsenknecht– Fritz Knobel (forger Konrad Kujau)
Christiane Hörbiger– Freya von Hepp ( Hermann Göring's grand niece, Willié's/Heidemann's noble girl friend)
Veronica Ferres– Martha (Knobel's lover)
Ulrich Mühe– Dr. Wieland (publisher)
Harald Juhnke– Pit Kummer (Williés boss)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.