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Inglourious Basterds Chapter Four

Fourth chapter.

Chapter Four (full name Chapter Four - OPERATION KINO) is the fourth chapter of the film.

SummaryEdit

The British brass decides to eliminate most of the German High Command during the premiere of Goebbels's latest film in Paris, and recruits a former film critic now lieutenant Archie Hicox for this. The plan, called Operation Kino, overseen by Winston Churchill himself, is the brainchild of the German actress Bridget von Hammersmark, a double agent for the British, whom the British lieutenant is supposed to meet in the French village of Nadine. Joining him will be the two German speaking members of The Basterds. However, things do not go according to plan.

SynopsisEdit

Archie Hicox, a lieutenant in the British army, is called to meet with General Ed Fenech and Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in a British mansion. Hicox salutes Fenech, who offers him whiskey, pointing to the bar in the globe. Fenech then asks Hicox about his abilities, more specifically his fluency in the German language, and his occupation before the war. Both the general and Churchill ask him about various topics about the German cinema before the war. Churchill then asks Fenech to brief Hicox on Operation Kino. Fenech informs Hicox that Operation Kino is a plan to blow up the Parisian cinema where "Stolz der Nation" will be premiering, as the entire high command will be in attendance. Hicox is told he will meet with the Basterds in the village of Nadine, where he will rendezvous with Bridget von Hammersmark, a German movie star working as a double agent for Britain, and be her escort at the film premiere. The meeting will take place in a tavern called La Louisiane.

Hicox meets with Aldo Raine and the rest of the Basterds. The British officer, along with German-speaking Basterds Hugo Stiglitz and Wilhelm Wicki don German uniforms and go to meet with Hammersmark, in the tavern. Here, they discover Bridget von Hammersmark on a table talking to a group of German soldiers, drinking and playing a card game. The German soldiers are celebrating Wilhelm's newborn, Maximilian. After biding farewell to her German friends, she joins the Basterds table, while Eric serves them whiskey, with Mathilda joining the German table in Hammersmark's place. She tells them that the venue has changed from the Ritz to a smaller venue, and attempts to tell them another very important detail, but Wilhelm interrupts them, asking von Hammersmark for an autograph, for Maximilian. After she gives the drunk Wilhelm an autograph, along with a kiss on an handkerchief, she tries to tell the Basterds that important detail, only for Wilhelm to sit at their table, asking her what is she doing in France. Irritated at the constant interruption by the drunk soldier, Hicox snaps at him, shouting at him in an odd accent that he's at an officer table and that he doesn't belong there. Wilhelm notices Hicox's unusual accent and bluntly asks him where he's from. Hugo Stiglitz grabs Wilhelm by his collar and tells him that he must be either nuts or crazy to talk to a superior officer with such impertinentness. He orders his comrades to take him away, under the threat of jail for public drunkenness, but are interrupted by an authoritative voice from the other chamber of the tavern, Major Dieter Hellstrom.

Claiming that he too, like Wilhelm, has a good ear for accents, he asks Hicox where he's from, while also telling Wicki and Stiglitz to stand back, correctly guessing both their accents. Hicox tells the Major that he's from the village of Piz Palu, claiming that everyone there talks like that. He claims that he and his family appear in the film, in the skiing scene, and that the director Pabst also gave a close-up of his brother. Bridget von Hammersmark confirms his story, claiming that his brother really looks better than him. Hellstrom seems to buy this story, and orders the soldiers to take Wilhelm back to their table. He then joins the Basterds table, and asks them in a friendly tone what are they doing in France, implying that he knows every German stationed in France, and that he isn't aware of their presence there. Hicox and Bridget tells him that they're there to attend the premiere of Goebbels latest film.

While at the table, Hellstrom notices the card guessing game the soldiers are playing and asks the men and Bridget if they would like to play. In an attempt to avoid any suspicions, Bridget agrees to one game, which pleases the Major. After getting a few cards from the soldiers, he explains the game rules. During this time, Stiglitz remembers his time in prison when he was tortured, which he snaps out of it, when the Major playfully slaps his chest, telling him to write a name on the card. With all the cards on their respective foreheads, and with the Major sporting the name "King Kong", he begins asking questions about the name on his forehead. He correctly deduces the name of the character written on his card, after asking his final question if he is "the story of the Negro in America".

After playing a party game, Hellstrom asks who wants to try next, pointing at Stiglitz, but Hicox intervenes, claiming that he's intruding on a meeting between old friends. Hellstrom however disagrees, and asks Bridget if he's intruding, and after she denies that, he claims on a serious tone that the captain is simply immune to his charms. After a short tense moment, he bursts into laughter and playfully slaps Hicox's cheek, saying that he's indeed intruding. Before leaving the table, he orders a fancy aged whiskey from Eric, as a farewell gift. When Eric asks how many glasses will he be serving, Hellstrom and von Hammersmark decline, leaving only Hicox, Wicki and Stiglitz to have whiskey. Hicox signals for three glasses, but accidentally signals using the three middle fingers (Germans signal three with thumb to middle finger). This blows their cover, with the Major cocking his Walther P38 and pointing at Hicox's testicles, only for the British officer to reveal that he was already pointing his Walther PPK in Major's balls as well, with Stiglitz placing his PPK in Hellstrom's lap. After telling the Basterds that there's no way they can leave the tavern alive, Hicox signals Stiglitz to kill the Major.

A massive firefight erupts, where Stiglitz and Hicox shoot the Major dead, only for the Major to shoot Hicox dead as well. Wicki jumps out of his seat and shoots the other German soldiers, getting shot back, as well as Stiglitz, who turns around and fires as well at the Germans, only for Eric to blast him with a double barreled shotgun, who in turn is shot dead by Wicki. Wilhelm breaks the shootout by killing the last two shooters as well as Mathilda with an MP40. At the end of the shootout, only Wilhelm appears to have survived. As the upper tavern doors are heard opening, Wilhelm opens fire on the stairs until his gun runs dry, and then goes for another one, while calling for the visitors to identify themselves. Aldo is then heard speaking, telling Wilhelm they're American. After Wilhelm tells Aldo what happened, Also asks if there's anyone still alive. Fearing that the Basterds might open fire indiscriminately or worse, von Hammersmark shouts that she's still alive. This angers Wilhelm, who demands to know if she's on the American side, and Aldo confirms that, blowing their cover. Aldo reaches an agreement with Wilhelm to allow them to take von Hammersmark with them, while Wilhelm gets to leave unharmed. The agreement is almost broken when Wilhelm is still holding to his gun, and only drops it after Bridget tells Wilhelm to think about his son. Wilhelm drops his gun on the counter, and tells Aldo to take the traitor actress away, only for Bridget to shoot Wilhelm dead with Hicox's PPK, in order to maintain their cover.

Aldo and the rest of the Basterds take von Hammersmark to a vet clinic, where she's interrogated by Aldo into revealing what actually happened, as they think that the whole affair looked too suspicious. After convincing Aldo that it was all a tragic misunderstanding, she spills out the now useless plan to get into the film premiere, as members of the German cinema. However, Hammersmark reveals that Adolf Hitler himself will be in attendance at the event. Given this turn of events, Raine and Hammersmark and decide to botch a plan and go forward with the operation, with Raine saying that the vet will get the bullet from Hammersmark's leg, wrap it into cast and find some broke-my-leg-while-climbing-the-mountain excuse. After Bridget asks them if they speak any other language than English, Donny tells her that he and Aldo both speak some Italian. While no doubt their accent is terrible, Hammersmark remarks that Germans don't have a good ear for Italian, and they might just have a chance. Aldo displays skepticism at this "plan", but von Hammersmark assures him that if they don't do something stupid, she can get them in the cinema. Aldo decides that he will be an Italian stuntman as he speaks the most Italian, Donny will be cameraman as he speaks the second most, while Omar will be Donny's camera assistant, even though he doesn't speak Italian, to which Aldo tells him to start practicing.

Meanwhile, Hans Landa arrives at the La Louisiane tavern where he finds the corpses of Hugo Stiglitz and Wilhelm Wicki, telling the man accompanying him that those two were known for donning German uniforms in order to ambush unsuspecting German squads and kill them. However, Landa doesn't think that what happened here was another attack by the Basterds, and finds what happened in the tavern to be odd. Soon enough he finds von Hammersmark's shoes, saying that someone appears to be missing. He signals his men back to their automobiles, and while he looks through the debris, he finds Wilhelm's handkerchief with Bridget von Hammersmark's autograph and and kiss. After realizing what happened, he kisses the handkerchief satisfied, and leaves the tavern.

TriviaEdit

  • When General Fenech asks Hicox if he speaks German, Hicox responds ironically "like a Katzenjammer Kid". The Katzenjammer Kids are an American comic strip created by the German-born designer Rudolph Dirks, published in the Italian newspaper "Corriere dei Piccoli" as "Bibi and Bibò and Captain Cocoricò". All characters of this comic speak with a fake German accent very bizarre ("Just" becomes "chust", "we" becomes "I", "the captain" becomes "der Captain", etc.).
  • According Hicox, the purpose of Goebbels movie industry was to overcome the success of Jewish film producers that dominate the Hollywood scene of that period. In this regard Churchill intervenes as asking him how is Goebbels doing if compared, for example, to the producer Louis B. Mayer (the famous as well as despotic head of Metro Goldwyn Mayer). Hicox responds that he's doing well, but Meyer would not be Goebbels's proper opposite number, as Goebbels sees himself closer to David O. Selznick (producer and talent scout with great insight and talent). Selznick produced some big hits like "Gone with the Wind" and King Kong.
  • In the 1963 movie The Great Escape, the Nazi officer Von Luger says: "We have in effect put all our rotten eggs in one basket. And we intend to watch this basket carefully". General Fenech will use the same comparison to summarize the purpose of the Operation Kino.
  • Hicox ends the conversation with General Fenech by saying: "Paris, when it sizzles". The phrase is a reference to the homonymous 1964 romantic comedy Paris - When It Sizzles.
  • In ruined house, Aldo says that you need not be a strategist of war like Stonewall Jackson to choose a better place than a basement as a place for the rendezvous. Thomas Jonathan Jackson, lieutenant general in the army of the Confederate States during the Civil War, was considered one of the greatest commanders of U.S. military history. Jackson earned the nickname "Stonewall" ("Stone Wall") for having resisted with great determination against the advancing unionists, during a phase of the conflict.
  • The top level of the spiral staircase and the bottom level of the outside downstairs do not match: the entry door seen from outside would be on the tavern floor level, removing the need for the spiral stairs and the spiral staircase top would actually be above the street level.
  • In the basement bar scene, one of the enlisted men refers to Karl May and says his character is Winnetou. This is a reference to the western-theme adventure books by German author Karl May (1842-1912). Winnetou was a Native American hero in several of the books. May was one of Adolf Hitler's favorite authors.
    • However, the gesture of touching the heart and greeting with three fingers the man makes is a anachronism as it was a signature gesture of Winnetou in the movies from the sixties.
  • Names on the cards from the game played in the bar include: Winnetou, Genghis Khan, Mata Hari, Beethoven, Pola Negri, Edgar Wallace, GW Pabst, King Kong, Marco Polo, Brigitte Horney and Brigitte Helm.
  • At the "La Louisiane" tavern, the German soldiers are seen drinking "schnapps". The schnapps are white spirits made in Germany. The distillate is made ​​from grain, potatoes or molasses and is often flavored with fruit (especially apples, pears, plums or cherries) flavorings, herbs or spices.
  • The champagne that Bridget drinks is "Perrier-Jouët Cuvée Belle Epoque", easily recognizable by the presence of anemones drawn on the bottle.
  • In the film, a group of German soldiers are playing a game where one has to guess what famous name is written on one's forehead. The note on the soldier played by Ken Duken reads Mata Hari, a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who became known for being a double agent for Germany during World War I. This mirrors the role played by Diane Kruger: a famous actress turned double agent for the Allies during WWII.
  • The cards of the German soldiers read the names of: Winnetou (Native American hero character created by the German writer Karl May), Mata Hari (Dutch dancer and spy during the First World War), Beethoven (famous German composer), Edgar Wallace (one of the most famous writers of detective novels as well as author of the screenplay of the movie "King Kong" of '33) and Pola Negri (Polish silent film star, also known for his part in the comedy film "Hi Diddle Diddle").
  • In the tavern there is a female German soldier. Women could not serve in the Wehrmacht (until the end of the war anyway) so she's most likely a Blitzmadel; her jacket missing is another argument.[1]
  • The French version of the song "The Man With The Big Sombrero" heard in the tavern was recorded specifically for the film and is song by actress and singer Samantha Shelton (sister of the Marley Shelton of Grindhouse Dakota). In the video clip of the song (directed by Merit Avis) Shelton perfectly recreates the original scene of the 1943 movie Hi Diddle Diddle by Andrew L. Stone where June Havoc sings the same song, but in English.
  • When Eric is seen at the counter he reads "Les Fleurs du Mal" (The Flowers of Evil), the famous collection of poems by Charles Baudelaire.
  • The card from Wicki's head reads the name of Brigitte Helm, German actress known for the 1927 film Metropolis by Fritz Lang, while Hicox's reads the name of Brigitte Horney other German actress known for playing the role of the Empress Catherine II in the 1943 movie The Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Josef von Baky.
  • Bridget von Hammersmark's first card reads the name of the first ruler of Mongolia Genghis Khan, then when she plays the game again with Hellstrom it says the name of the Austrian director Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Hellstrom's card reads King Kong and Stiglitz's card the explorer Marco Polo.
  • During the card game in the tavern, after Hellstrom asks if his character is American, Wicki interrupts, claiming that since the King Kong character arrived in America, that would imply he could qualify for being considered American, mirroring his departure from Austria to America, where, he most likely applied for citizen upon joining the military, thanks to The Second War Powers Act of 1942. This could be further confirmed by the next dialogue exchange, where the Major claims that the visit to America was not fortuitous for him, but for someone else, all while the camera points at Wicki.
  • When Major Hellstrom reasons out that his card says King Kong, he is giving Quentin Tarantino's analysis of the movie as an allegory of the American slave trade. He explained this analysis in an interview on NPR with Terry Gross.[2]
  • In the 1970 movie Rosolino Paternò, soldato... by Nanni Loy, the American soldier undercover, played by Martin Landau, responds to a girl who had asked him the time by indicating the number 3 in the British (index, middle and ring) and blows his cover. Lieutenant Hicox does the same fatal error at the La Louisiane tavern.
  • The cigarettes smoked by German soldiers at the Louisiane are: the "Harz" (invented brand, named after a mountain range in Germany), the "Alpin" (brand invented) and "Lyonnaises" (brand invented, with the red packet and black stripe in the middle of the table). On the officer's table, in front of Wicki we see a package of "Deutscher Geist" (brand invented). "Chant Du Coq" (invented brand) can also be see.[3]
  • The matches seen on the table at the tavern are the "Front Holzer", while those used with by the Basterds are the "Union Match".
  • The shooting script includes a scene where Raine and his men intimidate the veterinarian into treating Bridget Von Hammersmark's bullet wound by shooting 2 of the dogs inside their cages. This scene was apparently filmed but cut from the final print, as during the scene with Hammersmark on the table if you look behind her you can see 2 of the cages with holes in the wire mesh, and blood stains and dead dogs within.

ReferencesEdit