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Hangmen Also Die! (1943)

Not Rated | | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller | April 1943 (USA)
After the Nazi administrator of Czechoslovakia is shot, his assassin tries to elude the Gestapo and struggles with his impulse to give himself up as hostages are executed.

Director:

Fritz Lang

Writers:

Bertolt Brecht (adaptation) (as Bert Brecht), Fritz Lang (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brian Donlevy ... Dr. Franticek Svoboda / Karel Vanek
Walter Brennan ... Prof. Stephen Novotny
Anna Lee ... Masha Novotny
Gene Lockhart ... Emil Czaka
Dennis O'Keefe ... Jan Horak
Margaret Wycherly ... Ludmilla Novotny
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Hellie Novotny
William Roy William Roy ... Beda Novotny (as Billy Roy)
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski ... Reinhard Heydrich (as H. H v. Twardowski)
Alexander Granach ... Gestapo Insp. Alois Gruber
Tonio Selwart Tonio Selwart ... Chief of Gestapo Kurt Haas
Jonathan Hale ... Dedic
Lionel Stander ... Banya
Sarah Padden ... Mrs. Georgia Dvorak
Edmund MacDonald ... Dr. Pillar
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Storyline

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 <arnold@mayahtt.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The shameful story even Hitler couldn't stop! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

April 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

No Surrender See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first telecasts of this film occurred Sunday 31 August 1947 in both New York City on WNBT (Channel 4), and in Washington DC on WNBW (Channel 4), in Los Angeles Sunday 14 December 1947 on KTLA (Channel 5), in Philadelphia Saturday 27 March 1948 on WPTZ (Channel 3), in Chicago Monday 26 April 1948 on WGN (Channel 9), in Detroit Sunday 25 April 1948 on WWJ (Channel 4), in Baltimore Saturday 15 May 1948 on WMAR (Channel 2), and in Cincinnati Wednesday 21 September 1949 on WCPO (Channel 7). See more »

Goofs

In reality, Heydrich was assassinated by a team of Czech exiles sent back to the country by the British government. See more »

Quotes

Czech Patriot: Your mothers were slimy rats! Their milk was sewer water!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the opening credits Jonathan Hale's name is spelled correctly the first time it appears. Then in the cast of characters that appears a few seconds later it is misspelled as "Jonathon" Hale. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Apartment Zero (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

No Surrender
(uncredited)
Music by Hanns Eisler
Lyrics by Sam Coslow
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fabulous for the time--right smack in the middle of it all
5 December 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Hangmen Also Die! (1943)

The best part of this movie is knowing it was made right in the middle of the war, not in some recreation of the events. It's a little hyperbolic, for sure, but really well acted (both the Nazis and the Czechs), and it ends up being a battle of wits and tricks between the two sides.

Fritz Lang was a refuge from Nazi Europe and made this in Hollywood, with an expected sensibility for the cruelties and barbarism of the occupying nasties. And they probably were this nasty--worse, in truth, though less comically so, as the movie sometimes pushes it a bit. Still, really enjoyable, in all. Yet, somehow, it was long. The twists from one scene to another started to sound familiar, and the tension was sustained rather than invigorated, if that makes any sense.

Brian Donlevy is the leading good guy here, and he's always a little less than compelling, though he is not in most of the scenes so I suppose that's fine. The double-crosser was played by Gene Lockhart, whose presence grows as the movie gets on, and by the end he's really pretty amazing (far beyond the caricature of, say, the judge he played in "Miracle on 34th Street"). Walter Brennan makes an appearance, recognizable mostly by his voice. Two of the Nazi higher-ups were terrific, both the Pilsner guzzling brute and the slightly comical but scary gestapo head.

Lang is no fool, and he makes this movie not only a pleasure, but an important tool to remind viewers to be involved, to realize that you can fight oppression, even Nazi oppression, with enough wits and sacrifice.


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