Downfall film producer explains Hitler parody crackdown

The company that produced Downfall, the movie that led to the legendary “Hitler finds out…” Internet meme, has explained why after all these years it finally pulled down the successful YouTube parody videos.

Earlier this week, Constantin Film directed YouTube to take down all of the “Hitler parody” videos that took a dramatic scene from the movie Downfall and turned it into hilarious redubbed scenes.

The parody videos used an intense monologue from Bruno Ganz’s Hitler character in which he realizes he cannot win World War II, and changed the subtitles to make it appear as though he’s lamenting about everything from Michael Jackson’s death to the PS3 leap year bug.

The Hollywood Reporter got in touch with Constantin Film head of film production Martin Moszkowicz and said that they have received complaints about the parody videos since they first started popping up years ago.

“Sometimes we have been asked to take certain ones down — by companies whose products have been ridiculed or from Jewish associations who were offended by certain neo-Nazi parodies using ‘Downfall’ footage,” said Moszkowicz.

But he said the film company became tired of making judgment calls over which parody videos were acceptable and which ones weren’t. With YouTube’s robust digital fingerprinting technology, it was able to easily pull down all of the countless parody videos at once, and can block similar content from being posted.

In the days since the Hitler parody purge, Moszkowicz says his company has receive mixed reaction. “Some users are angry that we are blocking the clips, but many understand our position and have given us positive feedback … Especially those who have seen the original film,” he said.

It remains a sad revelation in the world of Internet memes, though.