A reader writes:

For your and Aaron's Netflix Queue, may I recommend Billy Wilder's brilliant "Stalag 17" (now available in a special edition format). Sure, William Holden won an Oscar, but check out the scene in Commandant Col. von Scherbach's (Otto Premminger) office. Von Scherbach is trying to get a confession out American POW Lt. Dunbar for blowing up a munitions train.  To force the confession, Lt. Dunbar is forced to stand on his feet and not sleep.

That is, until a "Geneva Man" comes in to inspect the camp and enters Col. von Scherbach's office as well. Dunbar runs to the couch and falls asleep.  In the presence of the "Geneva Man", Von Scherbach does nothing.

Billy Wilder was a Polish Jew who made films in Germany until Hitler came to power when he fled to the US. He had no desire to show the Germans in a positive light by showing their techniques as mild. Wilder knew that sleep deprivation was torture, and it was torture that you could show on a movie screen back in 1953.

Not every tortuous method has to involve the "Jack Bauer" techniques that current day people have come to equate with "typical" torture.

Agreed. But the president differs. He has the same contempt for the "Geneva man" that previous foes of America had.

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