Inglorious Basterds Review and Blu-ray Features
21 Aug 2009
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
What is ‘Inglourious Basterds’ about?
A group of Jewish-American soldiers plot the assassination of Nazis while, in another storyline, Shosanna Dreyfus (Mélanie Laurent), a French-Jewish cinema owner who narrowly escaped the massacre of her family and who is now being forced to host a propaganda film attended by several high-ranking Nazi officers, including Adolf Hitler (Martin Wuttke), is also plotting their assassination. The two separate storylines come together at the end of the movie.
Why did Col. Landa let Shosanna escape?
Viewers have suggested that (1) Landa (Christoph Waltz) admired Shosanna’s will for survival, (2) the distance between them was too great for an accurate shot, (3) Landa wanted her to spread the rumors of him being “The Jew Hunter”, (4) he had no doubt that he could track her down at a later time, and (5) he didn’t want to shoot her in the back (mentioned in the script, but left out of the movie). In the ‘Cannes Cut’, he informs his soldiers that she will freeze to death anyway in the coming winter.
What happened to Pierre LaPadite, the French farmer? Would Landa kill him for hiding Shosanna and her family?
Likely not. While Landa is a bit of a sociopath, he also seems to keep his word when he promises LaPadite he won’t kill him if he turns over the Dreyfuses. Landa was a brilliant detective, while at the beginning of the film, he says he loves his unofficial title of “The Jew Hunter” because he has earned it. Yet late in the film, when Aldo refers to Landa by this name, Landa is disgusted by it, because at this point, he was no longer “hunting Jews” so to speak and could be honest with Raine (though given his opportunistic nature, it could also be the possibility he clams to dislike his title as to appear a better person in front of the Allied Forces). So, at the beginning, he already knew that Mr. LaPadite was hiding the Jews beneath his floorboards, but Landa promised him that if he were to make Landa’s job easier and admit it, that the German army would never bother him or his family again. LaPadite, put in an impossible position, reluctantly confesses and Landa has the Dreyfus family hidden beneath the floorboards executed, with the exception of Shosanna. Landa would likely want LaPadite to spread the story of what happened, so he would let him and his family live. Also, if one gains a reputation for being true to their word, it’s more likely someone in the future would give up information easier upon promise of their life. If Landa went around killing everyone who was helping Jews, he would gain a reputation as such, therefore eventually someone would know that they were dead either way and likely try and kill Landa in the process.
In what scene does it show Lt Raine’s rifle with the words “Inglourious Basterds” on it?
It is in the chapter where the Basterds are in a ditch, interrogating their Nazi prisoners, and one refuses to give up the Nazi position in a nearby forest – basically asking for death at the hands of the ‘Bear Jew’. Aldo Raine walks into the scene and you can see his Karabiner 98k rifle with the words “INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS” carved into the stock.
Did the Basterds only target Nazis?
Technically, yes. Their mission was to create havoc and fear among the ranks of the Nazis, by killing and mutilating them. However, a good portion of the men they killed weren’t Nazis but were German soldiers and not necessarily members of the Nazi Party, Gestapo or SS. During the time of war, any German soldier who was fighting for Adolf Hitler was considered a Nazi by the Allies.
Was that actually supposed to be Hitler that was killed?
While Tarantino has made it pretty clear that in his film’s world, Hitler was gunned down in the movie theater and didn’t meet his real life fate, thus helping to end the war, fans have nevertheless put forth a theory that perhaps it was a double that was killed in the theater, or perhaps the actual Hitler was killed but a double “assumed the throne” and continued until committing suicide in the bunker in 1945. However, this would not account for the other members of Hitler’s inner circle who were killed in the theater, such as Bormann, Göring and Goebbels. It would be a little too convenient for them to have doubles, as well. In historical reality, Hitler visited Paris only one time for a single day, when he traveled there to accept the French surrender in June 1940.
Did Landa know Shosanna’s true identity when speaking with her at the restaurant?
It’s possible. He never saw her face while she was running away from him, so there is no way he could have known that she was the girl, although we don’t know how detailed were the files Landa had on the Dreyfus family. It is possible he had a very good description of her or even a photo. Being a very skilled detective and interrogator, he acts as polite and respectful as possible and never shows all his cards until he is certain about the outcome. The beginning of the film showed Landa having a friendly conversation with Monsieur LaPadite whom he suspected of hiding the Dreyfus family, but asked for certain details about them to see how Mr. LaPadite responded, pretending to not really be sure about the details of the Dreyfus family was hint enough for Landa to know he was lying and confirm that LaPadite was hiding the Dreyfuses. Keep in mind that Landa also knew who Aldo, Donny and Omar were simply by interrogating the swastika marked soldiers. So he could very easily have known or suspected that Madame Mimieux was in fact Shosanna Dreyfus, simply by height, hair colour, eye colour and descriptions he had gathered from interrogations of other Dairy Farmers in the area. Perhaps the reason he ordered the milk and the cream was that he suspected she was Jewish, but as she kept her calm and even tried the strudel, cream and all, he either dismissed his theory or chose to ignore it. It’s also possible, going with the assumption that Landa did indeed know who she was, that Landa was just testing her nerves. The more he prolonged the stress of him sitting there with her, the more uncomfortable she’d likely become. Not to mention she probably didn’t have much of an appetite with him sitting there. While she kept her calm, it was also obvious she was still nervous. Perhaps when he said he had something else to ask her…then he paused…gave her an intense stare was just to gauge her reaction. As a cat toys with a mouse. Either for his own amusement or to see if she would try running at which point he could apprehend her. The reason he may have chosen not to act on his suspicions was because he was planning on betraying Hitler at the theater, and could have used Shosanna as a scapegoat had it not gone to plan. Though that is just a theory.
What did Landa mean to ask Shosanna, but then couldn’t remember?
We have no way of knowing, as he never asked the question. As stated in the above question; It’s entirely possible he was suspicious and simply toying with her. It’s also possible he was considering confronting her about his suspicions but at the last moment decided not to act on them.
Why did Shosanna speak English at the end of Nation’s Pride? She didn’t speak English.
At the beginning of the film, Shosanna doesn’t speak or understand English, but the rest of the film takes place three to four years later which is more than enough time for her to learn English, possibly to avoid another situation like the beginning of the film. Also, it has been mentioned in many books that Adolf Hitler may have known a little bit of English (probably not French), so Shosanna might have wanted Hitler to understand the words she spoke (as shown when Hitler stands up and angrily shouts out “Enough! Stop (the film)!” after her film announces all the Nazis in the theater are going to die). Lastly, Shosanna’s use of English is a simple continuity choice, as it is meant as a direct response to Frederick Zoller’s line “Who wants to send a message to Germany?”, which is spoken in English. The technical answer is that the scene was originally supposed to be in French, but Mélanie Laurent suggested to Quentin Tarantino that it be done in English. Most likely because it would be hard to read subtitles during all the chaos.
Why didn’t Raine and PFC Utivich kill Col. Landa and turn in his scalp in the end?
The Basterds, although cruel and brutal, still had their honesty. Not only that, but they were given orders by a higher authority. Raine was heard saying that what Landa was going to do would make up for the atrocities he has committed. “Death and nature illuminate, elevate; love ventures under, the rest all never” implies something in which Raine highly believes: giving the Nazis/German soldiers what they deserve. Landa did follow through on his side of the deal. Thus, it is not surprising when Raine and company decide to follow orders and not break their word/honor by taking Landa’s life. On the other hand, you could also say that Raine wanted to brand Landa a Nazi, a memento he would have to shamefully carry on his forehead for the rest of his life, a stark contrast to the war hero who caused Hitler’s reign to end.
Why does Landa betray Hitler?
By the end of the film, Landa could see that in the situation where Hitler was inevitably going to die, and hence the Nazis were not going to win the war, he made the decision to betray Hitler. He goes to Raine to seek out a way to make him look like a hero. Landa traded Raine’s life to hopefully be a permanent part of the history books, as the man who killed Hitler and ended the war singlehandedly. Had Germany continued winning the war and the history books been written by the Third Reich, Landa would be famous as “the Jew Hunter” and held in high regard for the future generations of people brought up with the ideals of the Nazis. Simply put, Landa didn’t care which side he was on, as long as it was the winning side
Aren’t the Basterds a bit hypocritical at saying that the Nazis are evil, cold-blooded killers when they themselves are doing the same thing to Germans?
This may be part of Tarantino’s message: that all people, regardless of labels and categories, are capable of intense cruelty. Indeed, the Basterds are fully aware of this and relatively proud of it. Aldo’s opening speech to his unit was essentially saying that they plan to give the Nazis a taste of their own medicine: “Nazi ain’t got no humanity. They’re the foot soldiers of a Jew-hatin’, mass murderin’ maniac and they need to be dee-stroyed. That’s why any and every sumbitch we find wearin’ a Nazi uniform, they’re gonna die…. We will be cruel to the Germans, and through our cruelty they will know who we are. And they will find the evidence of our cruelty in the disemboweled, dismembered, and disfigured bodies of their brothers we leave behind us. And the German won’t not be able to help themselves but to imagine the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives. And the German will be sickened by us, and the German will talk about us, and the German will fear us. And when the German closes their eyes at night and they’re tortured by their subconscious for the evil they have done, it will be with thoughts of us they are tortured with. Sound good?” Nazis had a very similar outlook on Jews and the like. So Aldo and the Basterds took the opportunity to strike a blow at the heart of the German ranks by treating them no different than the Reich treated Jews. Not distinguishing between a Nazi and a German soldier was part of a prejudice necessary to their mission to wreak havoc.
RT/Meta Critic Review
This is one in a long line of classics by Tarrantino. It is a cinematic masterpiece. I loved this movie from the begining to the end.(MikeN/Meta Critic)
The Blu-ray edition of Inglourious Basterds features an exceedingly faithful, refreshingly filmic 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that, infrequent ringing aside, looks fantastic. Robert Richardson’s fireside palette is awash with warm hues and deep blacks, and his skintones, while a wee bit oversaturated on occasion, are as natural and lifelike as they come. The menacing red flair of Nazi flags pop, sinewy spatters of blood erupt from the screen, and the lush green canopy of a French forest offers a stunning backdrop to the gut-wrenching violence that ensues. Contrast is equally effective, granting each scene the sort of convincing depth and dimensionality often missing from the special effects extravaganzas Hollywood has favored of late. Detail follows suit, imbuing every shot with exquisitely rendered textures and revealing clarity. Note the fine stitching on the actors’ costumes, the intricate woodwork of the British war room, the grizzled stubble overtaking Pitt’s neck. Any softness that invades the frame is the product of Tarantino’s intention, any shadow that overwhelms is by his hand. Both definition and delineation are spot on, and grain, though present to varying degrees throughout the film, is never a distraction.
More importantly, artifacting, banding, source noise, aliasing, crush, and other pesky digital anomalies are nowhere to be found. Slight edge halos appear on a small handful of occasions, but rarely interfere with the integrity of the image. Tempted as I am to award Universal’s transfer a perfect score, such brief and unnecessary mishaps — no matter how negligible — hold it back from perfection. Regardless, I can’t imagine any Tarantino diehard or Inglourious Basterds fan will be anything but ecstatic at the results. I for one couldn’t be much happier.
Universal’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is just as impressive, delivering the film’s sonic payload as proficiently and powerfully as its video transfer delivers Tarantino’s gorgeous imagery. Dialogue is clean, intelligible, and weighty throughout, and effects, no matter how insignificant or subtle, are crystal clear. The LFE channel tackles sudden gunshots and explosions with the same tenacity it brings to the film’s chaotic endgame, and lends pulpy presence to cracking skulls and gruesome baseball bat kills. Likewise, the rear speakers bring the French locales and interiors to life, placing listeners in the middle of a basement bar, the hall of a crowded theater, the cramped confines of a veterinarian’s examination room, and wherever else Tarantino’s twisted fairy tale takes its guests. But the film isn’t all action and gunplay. Conversations and silences dominate the proceedings, and several scenes are eerily quiet. Even so, little goes to waste as the mix uses believable environmental ambiance, riveting acoustics, and the director’s subdued yet playful score to keep the soundfield as immersive as it is when all hell breaks loose. If I have any complaint it’s that a few pieces of music sound flatter than others. While Tarantino has intentionally toyed with the tonal quality of his selections, the mix occasionally struggles to unite them with the rest of the presentation. Nevertheless, audiophiles and filmfans will be quite pleased with everything Universal’s lossless triumph has to offer.
I usually don’t comment on disc menus, but I would loop this Inglourious Basterds gem all day if I could. As simple as its design is, the imagery and music that accompany the main menu will put you in the perfect mood to write your own reader review. But you’re not here to read about the disc’s window dressing, are you? My apologies. Universal’s supplemental package doesn’t offer a snazzy Picture-in-Picture track or a much-needed audio commentary, but it does serve up a solid collection of rather unique features, most of which are presented in high definition. Still, with less than two hours of content, it could have been better.
- Extended & Alternate Scenes (HD, 12 minutes): Three scenes are included — an extension of the Goebbels lunch sequence, a longer cut of the La Louisiane card game, and an alternate lead-in to the premiere of Nation’s Pride — and each one is worth watching. While the extensions were wisely trimmed, I would have loved to see the third scene preserved in the final film.
- Roundtable Discussion (HD, 31 minutes): Tarantino and Pitt sit down for an engaging interview with Elvis Mitchell that gives both men ample opportunity to discuss the film’s fast-tracked production, the on-the-fly evolution of the script, the director’s development of his characters, the process behind the cast’s rehearsals, and the tone and structure of the final cut. Yes, compliments abound, but I enjoyed listening to the pair share anecdotes from filming and describe their on-set interactions. Funny and informative, Mitchell’s interview is easily one of the best features on the disc.
- Nation’s Pride (SD, 6 minutes): The full cut of Inglourious Basterds‘ film-within-a-film, Nation’s Pride. Directed by Eli Roth, it boasts a wry sense of propaganda-inspired humor and a cheeky self-importance that left me laughing.
- The Making of Nation’s Pride (HD, 4 minutes): An amusing, in-character, tongue-in-cheek featurette that digs into the production of Nation’s Pride. Director Alois von Eichberg (Eli Roth), Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment & Propaganda Joseph Goebbels (Sylvester Groth), actress/mistress Francesca Mondino (Julie Dreyfus), and actor/war hero Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Brühl) explore the genesis of their propaganda piece and tout its cinematic achievements.
- The Original Inglorious Bastards (SD, 8 minutes): This short pays homage to Enzo G. Castellari’sInglorious Bastards and introduces the original cast and crew members who made cameos in Tarantino’s reimagining.
- A Conversation with Rod Taylor (HD, 7 minutes): Actor Rod Taylor (Winston Churchill in the film) chats about his involvement with Inglourious Basterds and raves about Tarantino’s prowess and intensity as a director.
- Rod Taylor on Victoria Bitter (HD, 3 minutes): Taylor shares a story about Tarantino and a bucket of hard-to-snag Australian beer.
- Quentin Tarantino’s Camera Angel (SD, 3 minutes): A montage of clapperboard one-liners delivered by a hilarious, sharp-tongued clapperboard girl.
- Hi Sallys (SD, 2 minutes): A series of greetings Tarantino and his cast sent from the set to editor Sally Menke, a longtime collaborator the director knew would see each one in the editing room.
- Film Poster Gallery Tour (SD, 11 minutes): Elvis Mitchell returns for a fascinating examination of the movie posters that litter the film’s backgrounds.
- Killin’ Nazis Trivia Challenge: Test your Inglourious knowledge with a series of film-related questions (sixty in all spread across ten rounds).
- Pocket Blu Interactivity: An iPod touch and iPhone application that allows compatible devices to act as a remote control, a keyboard, and a mobile station for viewing bonus content.
- Trailers (HD, 8 minutes): The film’s teaser, domestic, international, and Japanese trailers.
- Poster Gallery: Thirty-nine film posters including several international images.
- My Scenes Bookmarking
- Universal News Ticker
- BD-Live Functionality