“If they weren’t so evil, it would have been a comedy”

Capra felt a great need to make a series of films that would inspire the troops as well as the American people to fight. In watching Triumph of the Will, Capra left the screening utterly depressed. How, he thought, could the United States possibly compete with that? He recognized the skill of Riefenstahl and wanted to find an approach that would convince Americans of the errors of Nazi ideology. In the end, he decided that he would try to turn the propaganda on its head. He decided to simply show the American people the essence of fascism, by showing footage of Hitler, Mussolini, and other leaders, in order to highlight the tragic nature of their arrogance. If people saw what the Nazi’s wanted to do, they would understand the importance of fighting them. “If they weren’t so evil, it would have been a comedy,” he later pointed out in an interview.


– from the upcoming book “How to Film the Truth: The Story of Documentary Film As a Spiritual Journey” to be released in the Summer of 2018 by Wipf & Stock