I was delighted when I found out that I would be able to interview Marshall Curry for his Oscar-nominated short film, A NIGHT AT THE GARDEN. The seven-minute film distills one of the more disturbing incidents in recent history: the Nazi rally that took place on Feb. 20, 1939. It was attended by 20,000 people, and featured a speech by the leader of the German-American Bund, Fritz Kuhn that decried, among other things, the Jewish-controlled media. With no narration, no talking heads, Americans are seen giving the Nazi salute to the speaker who stands on a stage that pairs George Washington and swastikas as patriotism is equated with racism and anti-Semitism. The correspondences between demagoguery then and now are striking. And intentional.
Curry was dismayed to find that this was so little-known. He was even more dismayed to discover, a few hours before I spoke with him, that Fox had refused to run the ad for the film that had been purchased to run during Sean Hannity‘s show.
I started out conversation on February 13, 2019, with how little known this event is today, and we went on to discuss how the prophetic words of the event’s lone protester were, how the event was covered by the press at the time, and what the appeal of the Nazis was to Americans in the late 1930s.
We finished up with what why the film is not just history, but also a cautionary tale; distilling the rally into a perfect seven minutes; why Curry thinks that the rally is not mentioned in history books, or anywhere else, for that matter; the one place he’s like to see his film screened; and his thoughts on Fox News refusing to air a spot for his film. To see the film in its entirely, click here. To see the spot for the film that Fox News refused to air, click here.