In response to:
Fascinating Fascism from the February 6, 1975 issue
To the Editors:
Some fellow admirers of Siegfried Kracauer have brought to my attention an inadvertent plagiarism in my review of Leni Riefenstahl’s The Last of the Nuba (NYR, February 6). Five longish sentences put within parentheses in which I relate the plot of Riefenstahl’s film The Blue Light (1932) paraphrase a passage on page 258 of Kracauer’s valuable polemic on the history of German cinema From Caligari to Hitler. Although I had seen The Blue Light (in the 1960s), the mimetic solemnity and unintended funniness of Kracauer’s plot synopsis apparently brought Riefenstahl’s heavy-footed mountain allegory back into my head—and from there, back into my notes—with such irresistible authority that, in the course of several drafts, I made his Teutonic sonorities my own. He should have gotten the credit.
March 6, 1975