This chapter examines the intertextual strategies and visual grammar of Quentin Tarantino’s alternative history film Inglourious Basterds which deals with the role the cinema in a successful plot to assassinate Hitler. It argues that the film exploits our fascination with fascism and its iconography in a thoroughly ambivalent fashion and through the characteristic trademark of hyperbolic violence. Tarantino’s database narrative refers to war films and Westerns (genres that legitimise violence) but its rather more self-reflexive take on fascism must also be seen in the context of cinematic precursors that send up the audience’s habitually disavowed fascination with fascism, farces such as Mel Brooks’ The Producers and Helmut Dietl’s Schtonk!.
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