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Inglourious Basterds Chapter One

First chapter.

Chapter One (full name Chapter One - Once upon a time... in Nazi-occupied France) is the first chapter in the film. It introduces col. Hans Landa and Shosanna Dreyfus.

SummaryEdit

In 1941, the tranquility of a rural dairy farm in France is perturbed by the arrival of a German colonel, whose job is to find any hiding Jews in France.

SynopsisEdit

It's 1941, and France is under German occupation. A man is seen chopping a tree stub with an ax, while his daughter is seen spreading clothes on a wire. A distant rumbling tuns out to be an automobile escorted by two motorcycles. The man tells his daughter to get him some water to wash himself and the rest of his other two girls to stay back in the house. The automobile stops near the house, and the man in the car, a Standartenführer (colonel), asks his driver if this is the residence of Perrier LaPadite, to which the driver confirms, and the colonel tells him to wait in the car, while he goes to meet Perrier LaPadite, the man from the farm. The German colonel introduces himself as colonel Hans Landa, of the SS.

The colonel and LaPadite enter the house, where Perrier introduces his three daughters to him, Suzanne, Julie and Charlotte. After complimenting his daughters, he sits at the table. LaPadite asks Suzanne to pour the colonel a glass of wine, but the colonel refuses and instead asks for a glass of milk. After Landa drinks the milk, he compliments his family and cows, saying "Bravo", and asks the man to join him at the table. Landa asks LaPadite to talk in private, who tells Charlotte to take the girls outside. Removing his gloves to make himself more comfortable, Landa excuses himself that he has exhausted his French, and asks LaPadite permission to switch to English. Speaking in English, Landa asks LaPadite if he's aware of who he is and what his job consists of, namely finding hidden Jews in France. LaPadite tells Landa that he doesn't understand the reason of his visit, as the Germans had already searched his house 9 months earlier and found nothing. Landa opens his suitcase and documents, telling LaPadite he is aware of that, but that it is routine to search areas again. LaPadite, starting to feel nervous, asks the Colonel if it's alright to smoke his pipe, to which the Colonel approves, as it's his house. As Landa mentions the last Jewish families in that area, he brings up the Dreyfuses, which have not been accounted for, and asks LaPadite if he knows anything about their whereabouts. LaPadite tells Landa that he heard rumors that the Dreyfuses have managed to flee to Spain. As Landa asks LaPadite to name the members of the Dreyfus family and their ages, we see that the Dreyfuses are actually under the house floor, looking through the cracks in the floorboards.

Hans Landa is then heard packing his stuff, claiming that his work there is done, but before leaving he asks for another glass of milk. As LaPadite pours him one, Landa questions LaPadite about his knowledge of the Colonel's reputation, or the "nickname" (The Jew Hunter) the people of France had given him. After frustratingly stating that he has no interests in such thing, LaPadite finally acknowledges that he was aware of it. Landa then proceeds to explain why he "loves" his "unofficial title", why he was put in charge of the hunt for the Jews, and the attributes that the German and Jewish people share with certain animals. He confidently says that the Germans share the characteristics of a hawk, while the Jews share the attributes of a rat. After a lengthy explanation, Landa discreetly gives LaPadite the warning that he is fully aware of what human beings are capable of once they abandon their dignity, then asks LaPadite for permission to smoke his pipe as well to ease the tension. As he smokes his pipe, Landa tells LaPadite that his job requires him to perform a throughout search of his property, and that if there are any irregularities to be found, they most certainly will be. He then says that any assistance LaPadite could offer to help make the Colonel's job easier would not be met with punishment, on the contrary, reward, specifying that should LaPadite's family would no longer be bothered by German occupying forces in France. After that, Landa stays silent while giving LaPadite a fixed and menacing stare, showing visible aggression unlike his initial friendly demeanor when entering the house. Landa then directly asks LaPadite if he is hiding "enemies of the state". Knowing he can no longer do what his humanity told him to, LaPadite breaks and tearfully answers "yes". He then follows Landa's order to point out the areas the Dreyfuses are hiding underneath the floor boards. Landa orders LaPadite to follow his act and pretend to be leaving the house and wishing a farewell to LaPadite and his daughters.

In reality, he's actually signalling the German soldiers outside to storm in the house, take their positions around the floor where the Dreyfuses are hiding below and open fire at the hiding Jews, to LaPadite's horror. After the soldiers empty their guns, Landa demands silence to hear if anyone survived, and sure enough, one member of the Dreyfus family is seen crawling under the floor outside. It is Shosanna Dreyfus, covered in blood and dirt, running away while crying, having just seen her family murdered before her eyes. Hans Landa slowly steps outside, placing his bag on the doorstep and stares at the fleeing Shosanna. He pulls out his gun and takes aim at her, but after a long wait, he just lowers his gun amused and shouts a cruel "Au revoir, Shosanna", as the girl fades in the distance, towards the woods.

Memorable quotesEdit

  • Monsieur, to both your family and your cows... I say, "Bravo."
  • I love rumors! Facts could be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.
  • Now, if one were to determine what attribute the German people share with a beast, it would be the cunning and the predatory instinct of a hawk. But if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be that of the rat. The Führer and Goebbels' propaganda have said pretty much the same thing. But where our conclusions differ, is I don't consider the comparison an insult.
  • Au revoir, Shosanna!

TriviaEdit

  • The opening theme is taken from the pseudo-folk ballad "The Green Leaves of Summer", which was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin and Paul Francis Webster for the opening of The Alamo (1960).
  • The first take of the film, where we see a lone house on a hill, with trees, and with fading subtitles is similar to the intro of the 1965 film The Sound of Music (5 minutes in the film).[1]
  • The opening is also similar to the opening of Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven.[2]
  • The title of the first Chapter points out the main reference of Sergio Leone's 1968 Western Once Upon A Time In The West by Sergio Leone. The first scenes of the movie are also a reference to Leone's film. In the film, the tranquility of a family living in an isolated farm is abruptly interrupted by a unwelcomed "visit". The plot is also similar, because in both films a family is massacred.[3]
  • The first scenes are also reminiscent of another film by Leone, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; both Landa and Angel Eyes ("the Bad") are seen arriving from a distance in similarly composed shots. The heart in both sequences is also echoed in that both are tense interrogation sequences: Landa talking to LaPadite and Angel Eyes with the Mexican farmer.[4]
  • When Landa arrives at LaPadite's farm, one of his subordinates refers to him as "Herr Oberst". As an SS officer, Landa would not be addressed using an Army rank. His correct title would be "Standartenführer".
  • When talking about the nickname that the locals had attributed to him, Landa mentions "the Executioner of Prague" (Der Henker von Prag), Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich had gained such a name because of the bloody repression that was usually ordered to eliminate anti-German resistance in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, of which he was governor.
  • The scene with the eyes of the family members of Shosanna seen from under the floor is reminiscent of the Bride, when she is sealed inside the wooden coffin in Kill Bill vol.2.
  • The technique of shooting from above, The God's Eye POV, is used briefly in the opening scene at LaPadite's farm (when Landa realizes that someone is still alive under the wooden floor). It is later used again at the beginning of Chapter Five. Tarantino also used his technique several times in both volumes of Kill Bill.
  • When Landa comes to the door of LaPadite's house to take aim at the fleeing Shosanna, the image is reminiscent of the final scene of the 1956 film The Searchers by John Ford.
  • This chapter was parodied by CollegeHumor into a "Grammar Nazi" sketch, where Colonel Hans Landa corrects LaPadite's grammatical mistakes to his increasing frustration, whilst searching for Shoshanna Dreyfus.

ReferencesEdit