Hangmen Also Die!

1943

Drama / Film-Noir

4
IMDb Rating 7.6

Synopsis


Downloaded 13669 times
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1.96G
1488*1080
Approved
English
23.976 /
135 min
P/S 0 / 1
930.16M
992*720
Approved
English
23.976 /
135 min
P/S 1 / 0

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Righty-Sock ([email protected]) 7

'Hangmen Also Die' takes as its story, the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, a German Nazi official, head of the security police, chief deputy to the head of the Schutzstaffel, Heinrich Himmler, who organized mass exterminations of European Jews during the opening years of World War II... and also the subsequent retaliatory devastation of Lidice, a Czech mining village? With his usual skill, Lang weaves a tale of gripping suspense: the Gestapo's efforts to find the assassin; the workings of the Czech resistance fighters; and the traitor who is finally hoisted on his own petard? The film is an indictment of Nazi brutality and a tribute to the oppressed who dared to fight it?

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Reviewed by FISHER L. FORREST ([email protected]) 7

One suspects this film registered better with viewers in 1943 than it does today. Despite being suggested by the actual assassination of Reichs Protector of Bohemia and Moravia Reinhard Heydrich, better known to the Czechs as "The Hangman" because of his excessive brutality in dealing with residents of the conquered regions, it is almost total fiction. Even so it is not bad as a rather involved drama and was very likely good anti-nazi propaganda. Perhaps it is well to start with what actually did happen to Heydrich on May 29, 1942. Two young Czechs, Jan Kubis and Josef Ganchik, parachuted in from an RAF plane and managed to ambush "the Hangman" riding in his open Mercedes. Armed with both machine pistols and a bomb, the apparently did little harm by shooting, but did explode the bomb under the car. Heydrich's spleen was penetrated by bomb fragments and debris causing death several days later, possibly more by infection than anything else. The two Czechs evaded capture briefly, but witnesses under torture revealed their hiding place in a church and the SS killed them. In a massive retaliation, Hitler picked the village of Lidice, more or less at random, from among places known to harbor anti-German sentiment, and ordered its total annihilation. The people of Lidice had nothing whatever to do with the assassination, of course. In HANGMEN ALSO DIE we have the story of a lone assassin, using an English made pistol, whose getaway taxi was forced to move by German soldiers, causing him to take refuge during the curfew at the home of a Czech professor. The professor's daughter, Mascha, had impulsively directed the German pursuit away from him. The German police suspect the girl, but release her in the hope she will lead them to the wanted man. They also round up many Czechs, including the girl's father, and begin shooting them as hostages. The girl at first intends to give information, hoping to save her father, but in the end is persuaded otherwise by the Czech resistance. A plan is concocted to bamboozle the SS and save the assassin and the girl, but what it is you will have to see for yourself. Be assured it is incredible. As you see, this story has little to do with the historic assassination and its aftermath, beyond illustrating the SS brutality, but it does make a mildly entertaining wartime adventure with good propaganda value, largely because of the rather low key, intensely personal nature of the plot elements. Some of the characters are very real and believable, e.g. the Gestapo Inspector Gruber, the girl Mascha, and her father, all ably portrayed by Alexander Granach, Anna Lee, and Walter Brennan respectively. On the other hand, some characters are more like cardboard cut-outs and get wooden performances to suit. Brian Donlevy as Dr.Svoboda, the assassin, fits this category alas, as do a number of others. What realism there is seems likely to have been the contribution of Bertolt Brecht rather than John Wexley, who got the credit for the screenplay. One likes to think that Fritz Lang did the best he could with a mixed bag of acting talent, but this can hardly be said to be his best effort. Just why Hollywood producers seem to prefer fiction to the facts when dealing with historical material is a major mystery to me. In 1943 the general facts of the assassination were known, if not all the details, and could have made just as dramatic a story as this fictional one. It is worth a watch, though, especially if you like Anna Lee.

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Reviewed by mike harby 5

Superb addition to Fritz Langs wonderful catalogue of films. We see here his trademark 'almost documentary' style as well as propaganda (See The Last Testament of Dr Mabuse for another take on the Nazi regime). His trademark shadows (See 'M'). Early in the film we see Heydrich, an evil dictator who used his mandate from Hitler in the fullest possible way. Here he is played by Hans Heinrich von Twardowski who really is scary in portrayal. Lang shows this brilliantly in the way that the Czech people fear him, and also that he is feared by his own men. The master stroke here is the way Heydrich speaks only in German with no subtitles, given an English translation by someone else in the room. People fear him as he is and even though they cannot understand him, they fear what he has said. The film centres around the reprisals after Heydrich's assassination. The assassin is still living/hiding in Prague. A few know his identity. But they know that if they inform the Gestapo they will be killed and they also know if they don't they may die anyway. The tight script builds the tension to the highest level to a brilliant climax. The cast are brilliant, especially the ever reliable Walter Brennan. An actor of the highest caliber. Abley backed up by Anna Lee, Brian Donlevy & Dennis O'Keefe. This film is made all the more brilliant by the fact that it's idea was conceived only a short time after Heydrich's real-life assassination, not necessarily from a propaganda point of view, but with Lang you know you will get a film that will bench mark the film industry for years to come and people will sit up and take notice.

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