Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hitler's Madman (1943)

Director: Douglas Sirk

Writers: Bart Lytton, Albrecht Joseph, Emil Ludwig, Peretz Hirschbein, Melvin Levy, Doris Malloy, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edgar G. Ulmer

Composers: Karl Hajos, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Nathaniel Shilkret

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Sensational!

Plot: Story of the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, Nazi SS commander, by Czech partisans and the reprisals inflicted by the Nazis on the Czechs.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

I think this is the third time I've seen this since the '80s and there's one thing that stick out and that I remember most is John Carradine's frighteningly good performance as Heydrich.  He's a beast and really sells this guy as a callous and murderous bastard.  It's worth watching just for Carradine but don't get too invested because he's only got a few, brief scenes.  He's sorely missed when he's not present.  There are some harsh moments of violence (mostly offscreen) which add to the grim nature of the story which is based on true events from the previous year.  The only thing correct about the ambush is that there was one but it didn't happen nearly like this.  There is some levity early on which goes away soon enough.  It's weird seeing very American actors (like the always fun and lovable Edgar Kennedy) with their very American accents pretending to be Czechs but then it's not like we'd get anything much different from wartime Hollywood.  The last half hour is pretty tight and thrilling compared to the rest of the picture which it needed to be.  It's a good film but its not without flaws.  Carradine goes balls to the wall evil Nazi while the other actors as Nazis are either dumb blunt objects that fanatically do as they're told or are playing them as dumb and silly.  I like smart, ruthless villains and they're a rare breed in Hollywood pictures.

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