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Hans Landa
Hans Landa Inglourious Basterds
Vital statistics
Name Hans Landa
Gender Male
Allegiance Nazi Germany, SS, SD
Title/Rank Standartenführer (Colonel)
Nationality German (Austrian)
Fate Arrested
Portrayed by Christoph Waltz
“I love my unofficial title, precisely because I have earned it.”
Hans Landa

Standartenführer (Colonel) Hans Landa is the main antagonist in the film. He is nicknamed The Jew Hunter due to his involvement in hunting down Jews in France.

BiographyEdit

Hans Landa was born in Austria. After joining the military, and the annexation of Austria into the German Reich, he was recruited into the SS. Because of his intelligence, he quickly rose to the rank of Standartenführer (Colonel).

StoryEdit

Chapter One - Once upon a time... in Nazi-occupied FranceEdit

He is first introduced when arriving at Perrier LaPadite's farm, to search the residence for any hiding Jews. After he asks permission, he enters LaPadite's house, where he meets the former's daughters. He sits at the kitchen table and asks for a glass of milk, as LaPadite operates a dairy farm. Landa then politely asks LaPadite to send the girls outside, so that they could have a talk. He then asks to switch to English (so that any hiding Jews in the house would not know what they're saying). LaPadite, obviously nervous, asks for permission to light his pipe and Landa permits it.

Landa begins to ask LaPadite if he knows anything about the Dreyfus family, as well as their names and ages, which LaPadite gives him. Landa asks for another glass of milk before he leaves, and then begins to talk about how he loves his nickname, "The Jew Hunter". He explains to LaPadite that the Jews are similar to rats, saying that he doesn't consider it an insult. He goes on to elaborate his statement before coming to the conclusion that his ability to find Jews is far more advanced than that of regular German soldiers', and that he is aware of "humans being are capable of once they've abandoned dignity".

At this point, Landa suddenly asked for permission to smoke his pipe. He pulls out a huge Sherlock Holmes-like pipe. Landa then starts to tell him that in order to cross LaPadite's name off the list, he would have to have his men search his house. However, he tells LaPadite that any information that will make his job a lot easier would not be met with punishment, quite the contrary, it would be met with reward, that his family will no longer be harassed in any way by the Germans during the Occupation. Visibly convinced, LaPadite confirms to Landa that the Dreyfuses are under the floor of his house. Landa asks him if they don't speak English, since he hasn't heard any noises during the conversation.

LaPadite confirms his suspicions and Landa asks him to return to French and continue the masquerade. Hans Landa thanks him in French for the hospitality and for the milk and says that they're now finished. He exits the door, seemingly to call the girls, but he actually calls his men, and points them the place where to shoot. As he wishes to everybody "Adieu", his men shoot through the floor, killing the Jews. However, one girl, Shosanna, somehow survives and crawls through the basement vent and flees in horror, crying. Landa goes to the front door, puts his suitcase on the doorsteps and aims his Walther P38 at her, soon realizing that she's run too far for him to shoot. Instead he smiles and says to himself, sarcastically, "bupsti" (the German equivalent of "oopsie"). Landa then shouts, "Au revoir, Shosanna!", as Shoshanna flees further into the distance.

Chapter Three - GERMAN NIGHT IN PARISEdit

Hans Landa arrives at the restaurant where Joseph Goebbels, Francesca Mondino, and Frederick Zoller are talking to Shosanna Dreyfus, now known as Emanuelle Mimieux, about her cinema. Zoller introduces Landa to Mimieux, telling her he is running the security for the film premiere. He kisses her hand, while Shosanna tries to remain calm. As the Germans leave, Landa explains that he would like to have a conversation with Mimieux. Zoller rudely asks why, and Landa (both offscreen) is surprised by the private's attitude. Landa then sits at the table with mademoiselle Mimieux. He then orders two strudels and a glass of milk for her. He asks Mimieux about her cinema and if it's true that a negro operates the projectors. When Mimieux confirms that it is, Landa tells her that she will be the one to operate the projectors on the day of the premiere. He then says he had another question for Mimieux and briefly stares at her. After saying he cannot remember what the question was, he leaves.

Chapter Four - OPERATION KINOEdit

Hans Landa is called into the village of Nadine, to investigate a shootout between several German soldiers and 2 of the Basterds. He identifies Hugo Stiglitz and Wilhelm Wicki. He tells to the soldier that accompanies him that they were part of the Basterds, responsible for killing German soldiers. But he notices that there's something odd about the incident. He then sees a woman's shoe, and deduces that someone is missing. After signalling everyone to leave, he finds a handkerchief with an autograph from Bridget von Hammersmark..

Chapter Five - REVENGE OF THE GIANT FACEEdit

Hans Landa, is at the film premiere, drinking some champagne. He sees Bridget von Hammersmark with 3 of the Basterds, Donny Donowitz, Omar Ulmer and Aldo Raine, who are masquerading as Italian escorts. He speaks with von Hammersmark and her escorts, and sees through their disguises. He takes von Hammersmark to a private room and tells her to put her foot on his lap. He puts the shoe he found at the tavern on her, and then strangles her to death. He then has Aldo captured, along with another Basterd named Utivich. He takes Aldo and Utivich to an empty building and speaks with them. Aldo asks where Donny, Omar, and von Hammersmark are. Landa tells him that von Hammersmark got what she deserved, and that Donny and Omar are still at the theatre with bombs strapped to their legs. He has Aldo contact his superior at the OSS and negotiates his surrender and allowing the mission to proceed in exchange for immunity, medals, American citizenship, and a house on Nantucket Island.  Aldo's superior agrees to his demands and the mission goes as planned, with the theatre blowing up and the Nazi High Command being killed, ending the war. Landa and his radio operator drive Aldo and Utivich into allied territory, and then surrender to them. Aldo tells Utivich to cuff Landa. Landa asks if that's really necessary, and Aldo replies that he's a slave to appearances before shooting the radio operator and having Utivich scalp him, to Landa's shock. Landa finally loses his composure and tells Aldo that he will be shot for this. Aldo says that he will most likely be "chewed out" and that he's been chewed out before. Aldo, knowing that Landa plans to take off his Nazi uniform someday, tells the frightened Landa that he will give him something he can't take off. He then carves a swastika into Landa's forehead as he screams in agony. After finishing, he tells Utivich that "this just might be my masterpiece.""

PersonalityEdit

Hans Landa is portrayed as a highly intelligent and cold-blooded SS officer ordered to hunt down any European Jew hiding out in France. He has a sarcastic sense of humor and is often shown to distract his preys by luring them into long talks and asking them trap questions. In all of his conversation with other characters, Landa proved that he could be extremely persuasive, charismatic and courteous, until the table is turned. He laughed hysterically on Bridget von Hammersmark's made-up story, having peeled off every aspects of it as hastily prepared lies - before murdering her by strangulation.

Landa takes a great deal of pride in this reputation as the Jew Hunter, as shown during the farm house scene in 1941. Later, however, he scoffs at his nickname during his conversation with Aldo, alluding that he does not share in prejudice against Jews, and only hunts them because that is what he is ordered to do. He uses a very methodical and Holmesian approach in his search for hidden Jews, suggesting that either something had changed his perspective during the time gap, or he simply stated so to win Aldo's trust.

Despite several loyalty awards within the SS, Landa is not a true believer in Nazi ideology; he admits he has no personal animus toward Jews, and that he is simply very accomplished at hunting them and therefore does what is asked of him. He also shows himself to be quite ambitious, as when negotiating with the General of the OSS for his "conditional surrender", he wanted history to write down his "contribution" to Operation Kino as a double-agent and demanded rewards for his service: citizenship in the US, medal and property on Nantucket Island.

Besides speaking German, he is also fluent in at least English, French and Italian.

TriviaEdit

  • Hans Landa appears in four chapters, the most of any character throughout the movie.
  • Landa addresses all Germans of lower rank as "Herman", a colloquialism for "soldier" or "army man" (Herr mann).
  • Hans Landa speaks several distinct European languages throughout the movie, including English, French, German, and Italian.
  • In the scene where Col. Landa strangles Bridget von Hammersmark, the hands doing the strangling are those of Quentin Tarantino.
  • The pipe smoked by Landa is the Calabash Meerschaum, famous for being smoked by Sherlock Holmes.
  • Christoph Waltz dubbed his own performance in the German and French version.
  • The role of Col. Hans Landa is that of a notorious and merciless "Jew Hunter". In real life, Christoph Waltz has a son who is a rabbi.
  • At the premiere, Col. Landa is wearing a golden medal around his neck which covers his tie. This is the Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross in Gold with Swords (which was never actually awarded). The War Merit Cross was created to recognize non-combat contributions to the Third Reich war effort. The Knights Cross in Gold without swords was only ever awarded twice during the war, and it was actually instituted in October 1944 so it was impossible for Landa to be a recipient.
  • Landa claims that if they [the Basterds] want to end the war they must kill Hitler, Goebbels, Göring and Bormann, however, he completely forgets Heinrich Himmler and Karl Dönitz, who are just as important as the former four. That said, the Nazis were so prone to factionalism, encouraged by Hitler himself so as to not be conspired against, that their respective bodies may not be able to function alongside the others due to their lack of important leaders.

Notable quotesEdit

  • Monsieur LaPadite, to both your family and your cows I say: Bravo.
  • I love rumors! Facts can be so misleading, where rumors, true or false, are often revealing.
  • Au revoir, Shosanna!
  • Wait for the crème.
  • If the shoe fits, you must wear it.
  • Caught you flinching!
  • Oooh, that's a bingo!

Behind the ScenesEdit

Hans Landa was played by Christoph Waltz. Quentin Tarantino has said that Landa might be the greatest character he has ever written. Since Landa was so crucial for the movie AND the actor who would play that role HAD TO not only be fluent in French, German, English and Italian but TO BE ABLE TO ACT in those language; and during the casting Tarantino was about to quit the movie (as he said in an interview) and release the script to the web. His crew at the time begged for another 2 weeks of casting. After more that a week Tarantino was again about to give up since he had not been able to find the actor suitable for the role. It was during Christoph Waltz audition when he whispered into one of his coworker's ear (Bender) " we have our movie". The role ultimately went to the Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who, according to Tarantino, "gave me my movie back," as he felt the movie could not be made without Landa as a character but feared the part was "unplayable."

(Some believe Landa's part was originally created for Leonardo DiCaprio BUT the role created for this actor was the one of Aldo Raine.)

When Waltz auditioned for the role, he had no prior correspondence with Tarantino or producer Lawrence Bender, and believed that the character of Hans Landa was being used during the audition process to cast other roles. Waltz stated that he was most impressed with the dialogue and the depth of the character. Waltz describes Landa's character as one who has an understanding of how the world works, stating that the swastika means nothing to him. He adds that he is not driven by ideology, and that if anyone were to call Landa a Nazi, he would clarify that he was not, stating that just because he wears a Nazi uniform does not mean that he believes in the Nazi ideology. In describing the ending between the Basterds and Landa, he describes him as "realistic to the point of being inhuman", adding that he understands that the world is not just one thing at a time, and even though these things may contradict each other, they do not necessarily have to.

The character Col. Hans Landa was named after one of Tarantino's repeat customers when he worked at Video Archive, a now defunct video rental store in Manhattan Beach. The customer, Hans Landa, was an Austrian immigrant. Tarantino bonded with Landa over their mutual love of foreign films. Upon hearing of Landa's death, Tarantino paid his respects to him by naming the character after him.

In late 2009, legendary British actor Michael Caine praised Christoph Waltz's performance as Hans Landa, saying it was "the best performance of a villain I've seen in years." Caine even correctly predicted that Waltz would win Best Supporting Actor at the 2010 Academy Awards.

GalleryEdit

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