British hunter Thorndike vacationing in Bavaria has Hitler in his gun sight. He is captured, beaten, left for dead, and escapes back to London where he is hounded by German agents and aided by a young woman.
An altruistic department-store owner hires ex-convicts in order to give them a second chance at life. Unfortunately, one of the convicts he hires recruits two of his fellow ex-convicts in a plan to rob the store.
On May 27, 1942 the Nazi Reichsprotector of Bohemia/Moravia, the "Hangman" Reinhard Heydrich, died from the bullets of unidentified resistance fighters. Hangmen Also Die is the story of Heydrich's assassination in fictionalized form. It was Bertolt Brecht's only comparatively successful Hollywood project; the money he received allowed him to write "The Visions of Simone Marchand", "Schwyk in the Second World War" and his adaptation of Webster's "The Duchess of Malfi". Hanns Eisler won an Academy Award for his musical score.Written by
J.Arnold Free <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The original titles for the project were "No Surrender" and "Never Surrender" They had to choose a new title because a book was published with a similar title during production. Producers held a contest among the cast and crew to choose a new title. A production secretary submitted the winning title and won $100. See more »
In reality, Heydrich was assassinated by a team of Czech exiles sent back to the country by the British government. See more »
Supposedly, this film was suppressed in the USA because it came out in favor of the Communists. I just watched it today, and I can only remember one faint mention of the Russians (and don't forget, they were our allies at the time!). What must have really irked McCarthy was this film's scathing portrayal of those who snitch on their friends and co-workers, and those who coerce them into doing so.
Gene Lockhart, whom I always think of as likable Bob Cratchit from the Reginald Owen "Christmas Carol," deserves high honors for his intense portrayal of a Czech traitor who works behind his neighbors' backs to betray them to the Nazi occupiers. Anna Lee is strong in her central role as the woman caught up in a dangerous plot. Many of the supporting characters also shine, such as Alexander Granach as the lusty Nazi enforcer Gruber. I couldn't quite warm up to Brian Donlevy in the central role. (He looks too much like an American businessman, like Raymond Bailey.) And Walter Brennan, although he looks great, seems out of place because of his heavy New England accent.
What makes this movie a standout is the script and direction. There's not a wasted moment in this long film, and plenty of interesting set pieces (the theater, the cab ride/street confrontation, etc.). Brecht and Lang weave a web that grows larger but not looser as the film progresses.
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