|“||When you English get it through your head that the German forces can land at will whenever and wherever we please, perhaps you will consider reasonable peace.||„|
Colonel Heller is the main antagonist of Disney's 1971 film Bedknobs & Broomsticks, despite having little screen time. He was a Nazi officer who led an invading force into Britain briefly only to be pushed back into Occupied France by an army of animated suits of armor.
Although he is the main villain, his role in the film is small. An officer in the Wehrmacht Heer (Nazi Germany's regular armed forces), Heller doesn't appear until close to the end of the film. He and his men, including two sergeants, are dropped off by a submarine off the coast of England near Ms. Price's house. They quickly take her and the children, Carrie, Charles and Paul, hostage, with Heller using Ms. Price's house as a base of operations. He explained that their mission was to cause mischief, mayhem and sabotage to prove to the British government that Germany could land troops whenever and wherever they wished, in an effort to bully them into surrendering. Ms. Price attempted to turn him into a rabbit, but she forgot the words to the spell. Annoyed, Heller ordered her and the children taken away and locked up in the armory museum.
Unbeknownst to Colonel Heller, a London street entertainer charlatan named Professor Emelius Browne, who was waiting for a train to London but fled when he discovered Nazi soldiers sabotaging phone wires, infiltrates Ms Price's house and transforms himself into a white rabbit and followed an armed escort into the armory museum.
Locking Ms Price and the children in the armory museum proved to be a mistake. Ms. Price, with help from Professor Emelius Browne who turned back into a human, brings all the suits of armor in the museum to life, and sends them to attack the Germans. Upon seeing this approaching army through his binoculars, Heller couldn't believe his eyes. His main sergeant, a superstitious man, became afraid and said Ms. Price was a witch. An annoyed Heller fired back that there was no such as a witch. He insisted it was some kind of trick. "A pretty good trick!" insisted the sergeant. Heller ordered his men to fire at the approaching knights. The gunfire did no good, and after a comical battle, the German soldiers fled back to the submarine.
Heller insisted they stay and fight, reminding them they were German soldiers, but turned and fled by himself when confronted by a huge empty suit of armor wielding a gigantic axe. A short while later, he and his superstitious sergeant encountered Ms. Price again. "The witch!" cried Heller, terrified, and his sergeant sarcastically albeit fearfully reminded him he'd said witches didn't exist. Ms. Price told him to leave England and go home, and that the British people weren't as easy to beat as the Nazis had thought. Requiring no further persuasion, Heller joined his men and returning to the waiting submarine and fleeing back across the Channel, but not before blowing up Ms Price's workshop with dynamite, believing it to be the source of her magic, the explosion knocks Ms Price off her broom which in turn stops the magic.
Personality and Traits
Heller was apparently not as purely evil as many of his peers in the German military. At the very least he was an extremely pragmatic man who never committed evil acts for evil's sake. For example he never harmed Ms. Price or the children, and, when they became a hindrance to his plans, he had them locked away instead of killing them, showing him to be a man who believed civilians shouldn't be harmed in times of war. Despite this, he was an impatient and short-tempered man and extremely verbally abusive, raising his voice and yelling at both Ms. Price and the children, especially when they defied him.
In addition, he was arrogant, thinking little of British people's fighting spirit in the face of Germany's military might.
He was an extremely brave man to the point of being foolhardy, and expected the same from his subordinates. When they ran in fear, he became angry at them. Only when his own life was immediately in danger did Heller finally turn and run, too.
Prior to the incident with the living suits of armor, he was a very skeptical person. He dismissed the idea of magic. However, he wasn't stupid, and for all his reckless bravery and skepticism, Heller eventually came to truly believe Ms. Price was a witch just as his sergeant had said. This marks him as a man who can't ignore the evidence staring him in the face, regardless of his prior beliefs.
- Although his role is small, Heller is the main antagonist because he had bigger plans and was far more dangerous than anyone else.