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The Inglourious Basterds Scene That Nearly Killed The Cast

The reason for the massive fire that kills a room full of high-ranking Nazis — including chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler himself, played by Sylvester Groth and Martin Wuttke — is all due to one woman that we meet at the very beginning of the film. After tension builds in the stunning, horrifying opening sequence of “Inglourious Basterds,” Shosanna Dreyfus, played by Mélanie Laurent, narrowly escapes death just as Colonel Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) discovers her and her Jewish family under the floorboards of a French farmer’s home. Years later, Shosanna is living in Paris and works as the proprietor and owner of a movie theater when she meets Nazi soldier Frederick Zoller (Daniel Brühl), on whose battlefield exploits a Nazi propaganda film is based … and who takes a liking to Shosanna immediately.

Realizing that she can bring about the destruction of the Third Reich, Shosanna masterfully exploits Zoller by pretending she returns his feelings and convincing him, Goebbels, and Landa to hold the premiere of Zoller’s movie “Stolz der Nation,” or “Nation’s Pride,” at her theater. From there, Shosanna and her lover — the theater’s projectionist Marcel, played by Jacky Ido — assemble highly flammable film reels behind the screen and interrupt the movie to show footage of Shosanna, taunting the room of Nazis and telling them they’ll be killed by a Jewish woman before setting the film ablaze. Both Shosanna and Marcel die in the theater — Marcel in the fire, and Shosanna at the hands of an angry Zoller before she sees her plan come to fruition — and both Omar and Donny are killed too after they shoot Hitler over and over again.

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