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"I know this is a silly question before I ask it, but can you Americans speak any other language than English?" ― Bridget von Hammersmark[source]

Bridget von Hammersmark was a major character in Quentin Tarantino's 6th film, Inglourious Basterds. She was a popular film star in Nazi Germany and a spy for the Allies. Operation Kino was considered her brainchild.

Biography

Bridget von Hammersmark was born in Germany. She became an actress and starred in many German films, such as Fräulein Doktor. Sometime in 1942 she became a double agent for Great Britain.

Story

Chapter Four - OPERATION KINO

Bridget von Hammersmark is supposed to meet with Lt. Archie Hicox and two German-born members of the Basterds, Wilhelm Wicki and Hugo Stiglitz in a place of her choice, supposedly without Germans, a tavern called La Louisiane, in a small village NE of Paris, called Nadine. However the tavern is already occupied by a group of German soldiers, celebrating the birth of one of the soldiers' son. So, things don't go as planned for her and The Basterds. After Hicox accidentally blows his cover, a massive shootout ensues, where Bridget gets wounded. After a brief Mexican standoff between Wilhelm and Aldo Raine, she ends up killing Wilhelm in order to hide her identity. In the vet clinic where the Basterds took her, Aldo interrogates her in order to find out what actually happened. After a tense moment, Bridget tells him everything she knows. Then, she and Aldo cook up a plan to join the film premiere as Italian filmmakers, calling the plan "good", as long as they don't blow it.

Chapter Five - REVENGE OF THE GIANT FACE

Bridget with Aldo, Donny Donowitz and Omar Ulmer, posing as Italian film escort and cameramen, join the film premiere, each member of the Basterds having a belt of explosives wrapped around their ankles. Hans Landa sees the party and instantly recognizes them. He arrives at the group and Bridget recognizes him, saying it's been years since she last saw him. Landa sees that her left leg in wrapped in cast and asks her what happened, jokingly asks her if it's a product of 'ass kicking' the German film industry. Bridget comes up with the most ridiculous excuse, that it was from a failed attempt at mountain climbing. Upon hearing this, Landa starts to laugh hysterically, while Bridget and the Basterds silently watch the show. She introduces her "Italian" escort to Landa. When the ushers announce that the film is about to begin, Landa stops her and Aldo from leaving and asks her to talk to her in private. In Shosanna's office, Landa quickly unmasks Bridget and strangles her to death.

Personality

As a professional actress, Bridget is quite adept in her role as a double agent, being able to work as a double agent for the OSS/MI5 for almost two years without blowing her cover.

On the surface, she is a rather charming and quick-witted woman, maintaning a crowd of awed German soldiers by playing a guessing game with her, and being courteous and friendly with Dieter Hellstrom despite the fact that his presence is preventing her from discussing her plans for Operation Kino.

However, underneath her bubbly, charming facade lies a very cynical and cold woman. Once bare and exposed, she expresses indigation and frustration with the Basterds, whom she considers to be brutish, brash and inept (most likely being slightly prejudiced against Americans), even expressing her frustration about the American stereotype for lack of billingualism in the Basterds (as she is a billinguist). Despite being friendly and slightly flirtatious around Wilhelm, she didn't hesitate to shoot him to protect her cover, but she possibly shot him out of anger and spite, probably being angered and insulted when he called her a "traitorous bitch", showing that her reasoning for her defection are most likely out of her personal disgust of the Nazi regime.

However, despite her charm, her facade became to crack once Hans Landa started interrogating her. Despite his courteous behavior towards her, she displayed visible fear and a breakdown of her self-confidence once she was presented with her autograph and her shoe, knowing she was caught.

Behind the scenes

She was portrayed by Diane Kruger.

Her character is inspired by famous German actresses of the time including Leni Riefenstahl and Marlene Dietrich.

Nastassja Kinski was in talks for the role of Bridget Von Hammersmark. Quentin Tarantino even flew to Germany to meet the actress, but a deal wasn't reached.

Ironically, because Diane Kruger's best known performances were in English speaking films, Quentin Tarantino thought she was an American, and doubted whether she could master the German dialogue and accent. Upon audition, she quickly proved to him that she was a native speaking German.

This is the second film that Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger have appeared in together. However it is the first in which they interact, as their respective characters never actually met in their first collaboration, Troy.

Trivia

  • Bridget's line to Aldo, "I know this is a silly question before I ask it, but can you Americans speak any other language than English?" is reference to Bill's line to Budd from Kill Bill: Volume 2, "I know it's a ridiculous question before I ask it, but you haven't by any chance kept up your swordplay?"
  • The scene where Landa puts her shoe back on her foot, is a reference to the Cinderella fairy tale, where the prince identifies the princess by making her try on the shoe she lost. Here, the tale is twisted into a sinister way of discovering her identity.
  • One of the main sources of inspiration for the character of Bridget von Hammersmark is the Hungarian-born actress Ilona Massey. The dress worn by Bridget at the film premiere is very similar to one worn by Massey in the 1941 movie International Lady.
  • Another inspiration for the character of Bridget von Hammersmark was also the Swedish actress Zarah Leander known for such films as A Great Love from 1942 (original title: "Die große Liebe"). Among other things, a song from the soundtrack of this film sung by same Zarah). Zarah Leander was years a spy in the service of Russia during World War II. Goebbels met her at one at a party, and asked her provocatively: "Zarah ... Isn't that a Jewish name?" promptly replying: "Oh, maybe... But what about Josef?"  "Hmm... yes, yes, a good answer." replied the minister of propaganda.
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