You'd be in good company, for in 1942 that's exactly what was implied when MGM released the short, Inflation. In just 15 minutes, audiences were given a crash course on the then-current economic crisis -- what inflation was, how it grows and how you, the American public, could put an end to it. And if you didn't pitch in, it was because you, the American public, were in the grips of the Devil himself. Literally.
|It doesn't take much to amuse Satan.|
Axis-invaded nations go up in flames. But his fun is interrupted by a phone call from Hitler. The Fuhrer demands that something be done about America's gung-ho spirit. Not to worry -- the Devil, with the help of his sexy Executive Assistant, has just the thing to wreck the USA, just the way it did Germany in the early 1930s. Tainted sauerkraut, you might think? Bad folk dancing? A shortage of blood sausage? No: inflation!
|"We can't afford it -- let's buy it!"|
The Devil is only momentarily discouraged before bouncing back. He and his assistant go to earth to personally drive American consumers to the dark side. Soon, people are buying silk stockings on the black market. Hoarding food. Cashing in War Bonds to buy cars. Toasting marshmallows without a permit. (I made up that last one.)
|We're not talking preparing for the|
Macy's parade, bub.
Finally noticing the audience, the Devil generously invites us to move to his bailiwick: "You know, we have a lot to offer here. Parades. Guns. Racial superiority, heel-clicking, heil-calling. And the joy and glory of slaving and dying for a fuhrer."
Well, it's hard to turn down a solicitation like that -- how do we sign up? "Complain about taxes," he advises, "beef about price ceilings and wages and rents." (Welcome to New York!) "Do these things and you and I will get together much faster. Do these things and oblige my friend." He nods to the phone, where we hear Hitler screaming, "Sieg heil! Sieg heil! Sieg heil!" Per usual with long distance, the landline makes for a better connection than a cell.
|He's one hell of a dresser.|
And talk about articulate! When speaking to Hitler, the Devil makes sure to pronounce the "L" in "Adolf." If he ever wanted a career change, he could easily be a narrator on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's podcast tours.
|In Hell, every room's a smoking room|
Despite the overall fantasy concept of Inflation, Mr. & Mrs. Joe Smith's shopping spree unwittingly captures a true-life marriage situation. See, the wife has no problem with Joe buying her a closet worth of new clothes on the installment plan. But as soon he starts treating himself to a couple of things, suddenly he's spending too much. Atta girl! You get yours and to hell with hubby!
|The only thing we have to fear is|
|Esther Williams onland --|
I didn't recognize her
with her clothes on.
I sadly admit my grasp of economics is so poor that I learned more from Inflation than I had in my entire life. Other people are quick learners. Like Al Gore. The New York Times reported that the former Vice-President was eager to sell his laughingstock cable network Current TV to Al-Jazeera by December 31, 2012. Otherwise, he'd have had to pay higher taxes on his -- ahem -- reasonable profits.
Al Gore, deliberately avoiding paying higher taxes at the cost of the nation's good? The devil you say!
For another example of Hollywood's take on the close, personal relationship between Hitler and the Devil, see my previous movie post here.