The Guardian reports: Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor who played Adolf Hitler in the film Downfall, has died in Zurich at the age of 77, his agent announced. The actor became internationally renowned for his 2004 portrayal of the German dictator’s final days inside his Berlin bunker. In a Guardian review of Downfall Rob Mackie described Ganz as “the most convincing screen Hitler yet: an old, bent, sick dictator with the shaking hands of someone with Parkinson’s, alternating between rage and despair in his last days in the bunker….” It is widely believed to be the cinematic footage most often shared online, as well as the cause of one of the world’s most productive internet memes.
They’re referring to “One climactic scene featuring a Ganz tour de force” that was “relentlessly parodied in widespread ‘Hitler Finds Out…’ videos, featuring anachronistic subtitles depicting his rage and fury over topical, mundane, or banal events and trivial gossip,” explains long-time Slashdot reader Freshly Exhumed:
The spread of the meme was aided inestimably by the Streisand Effect caused when the production company, Constantin Films began sending DMCA takedown notices to YouTube. Eventually the company relented as the parodies constituted strong fair use cases.
When the director of the film was asked about the parodies, he admitted that “I think I’ve seen about 145 of them! Of course, I have to put the sound down when I watch. Many times the lines are so funny, I laugh out loud, and I’m laughing about the scene that I staged myself! You couldn’t get a better compliment as a director.”