Swing Under the Swastika

In 1935 the German government banned jazz, labeling it a degenerate music perpetrated by blacks and Jews, but that hardly deterred some Germans—mostly young and nonconformist—from clandestinely playing and listening to it. John Jeremy's 1988 British documentary sheds some light on the music's ambiguous role in German popular culture (Joseph Goebbels was a “closet jazz lover,” and jazz bands were often dispatched to entertain the troops), but its standard mix of newsreels, performance footage, and interviews only exacerbates the dullness of its rambling witnesses. 75 min.

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