Rudy Schwartz's Reviews




American World War II propaganda movies tend to have an aroma of predictability, but this makes them an effective way to nod off after the 11 o'clock news. More often than not, Americans are portrayed as open-minded, freedom-loving, racially tolerant beacons of global prosperity, while Germans are all brainwashed, empathy-deprived robots who slap women around and listen to accordion music. Of course, the reality is that immediately after the war, the American public told their returning black soldiers that they still couldn't use a public rest room, and the depravity of the Germans turned out to be much, much deeper and fucked up than anyone could have imagined for at least another forty-five years, when it became obvious that CÚline Dion wasn't going away.

Tomorrow the World doesn't exactly raise the bar for historical accuracy, but for sheer, relentless and unintentional batshit hilarity, it's definitely a horse or two ahead of the propaganda pack. Fredric March is a scientist with a high-level security clearance, living happily behind a white picket fence with his young daughter and his sister (Agnes Moorehead). He's planning to ask his Jewish girlfriend (Betty Field) to marry him so that he can short-circuit her teaching career, and set her mind to more womanly activities like ironing shirts and squeezing babies out of her vulva with a predictable frequency.

Everything's idyllic until Fredric announces that his nephew, played by a young and impressively irritating "Skippy" Homeier, is coming over from Germany to live with the family. Emil seems a little stuff-shirted at first, clicking his heels mechanically with each introduction, but everyone does their best to warm up to him, assuring each other that Germans really don't have much of a sense of humor. Unfortunately, day two proves a little more challenging when Emil comes down the stairs sporting a brown shirt and Nazi arm band, and proceeds to wield a knife while launching into fascist tirades which may well have served as philosophical templates for a young and impressionable Glenn Beck. The family is taken aback at first, but decides that with a little patience, their eleven year old Nazi kinfolk can be socialized and won over to hamburgers, apple pie, and Bob Hope movies.

Even after Emil calls Betty Field a "Jewish tramp" everyone continues to act as if there's nothing going on here that can't be turned around. Agnes Moorehead, an initial skeptic, even seems to be warming up to his creepily flirtatious overtures. So Emil, like any Nazi worth his Salz, sets to sabotaging inter-family relationships to suit his ulterior motives. It's not until he tries to steal government secrets and subsequently takes a heavy fire poker to the back of Cousin Pat's skull that Fredric March decides that maybe a line has been crossed, which he demonstrates by chain smoking and pacing around the living room in his bath robe.

Homeier, as the snotty, spoiled Nazi lad steals the limelight with his transparent underhandedness and Hitleresque temper tantrums. You might remember him from his Star Trek appearances, once reprising his Aryan goose stepper persona, and more notably as Sevrin the Space Hippie, who colluded with Charles Napier to undermine professional discipline on the Enterprise. Memorable moments to be sure, but for my money, what he brings to the barn in Tomorrow the World contributes just as much to his firm and respected standing in the Bulldada Hall of Honor. Thank you, Skip Homeier for all that you do.


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