Hans Memling, a young intellectual, patriotic German, is secretly opposed to the Nazi regime. With the aid of Gustav Schultz, Father Pommer, Anna Wahl and others, he is gleaning accurate ... See full summary »
Hans Memling, a young intellectual, patriotic German, is secretly opposed to the Nazi regime. With the aid of Gustav Schultz, Father Pommer, Anna Wahl and others, he is gleaning accurate information from foreign radio broadcasts and distributing it through Germany with an underground-press operation. He convinces his brother-in-law Karl Bach, the brother of his wife Elsa, that Hitler is leading Germany toward a second world war. Karl, in love with Anna, joins the movement, determined to restore German culture and save the people from the brutality of the Storm Troopers and the Gestapo. The group has an inside link through Albert Stalhelm, a Storm Trooper and one of Hitler's Elite Guards. Albert is sickened by the brutalities he sees and wants to resign and flee Germany, but Hans persuades him to remain until they can find a replacement. He agrees, but warns the group that he is forced to join in the Nazi orgies and liquor loosens his tongue. Elsa is about to have a baby and lives in ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
New York, Monday, November 13, 1939: Reversing a previous decision, the New York State Censor Board on Friday (November 10, 1939) passed "Hitler - Beast of Berlin" under the changed title of "Beasts of Berlin," with what was termed as a slight revision also being made within the film. Original rejection of the film by the New York (state) censors was on the ground that the film was "inhuman, sacrilegious and tended to incite crime." Producers Distributing Corporation, distributor of the film, is still battling to get a MPPDA (Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, later changed to MPPA)code seal before opening the picture in New York. It is understood that the Hays office was withholding the seal, due to the film's original title - "Hitler - Beast of Berlin." See more »
Most of the swastika emblems are displayed backwards. See more »
Although rather poorly made, it was a huge step for Hollywood.
Despite the Nazis being horrid monsters, this side of Nazi Germany went unnoticed in American films until about 1939. This was for two reasons: Most Americans couldn't have cared less about conditions in Europe and the US Congress enacted legislation to force film studios to remain neutral about the brewing war. Eventually, in 1939 a few studios bravely made anti-Nazi films...but most of the American studios still said nothing--even after the Germans invaded Poland. In fact, American propaganda films on the Nazis really were a very rare thing until the US entered the war in late 1941. So, while "Beast of Berlin" is a pretty cheap little film, it has the distinction of being one of the first anti-Nazi films from the US. And, sadly, the man responsible for the film, according to IMDb, was soon forced out of the studio due to lousy box office returns on this film.
"Beast of Berlin" is based on the assumption that an anti-Hitler underground was alive and well in the country. While this might have been true around 1933-34 when the party took control, soon opposition to the regime virtually disappeared. So, the film centering on the opposition was, in a way, a bit of a myth--there unfortunately wasn't much opposition to him as the film would contend existed in 1938-39.
Among the man folks who work for the underground who eventually are caught and imprisoned is a young Alan Ladd. While he's really not the leading man in the film, he's emblazoned on posters of the film and gets top billing during its re-release due to Ladd becoming a big star in 1942. So, while you'll certainly get a lot of Ladd in the movie, it isn't really a starring vehicle.
In many ways, the film is interesting and worth seeing. Sure, the acting is occasionally uneven and the film could have been better, for Neufeld Productions, it was actually a bit better than usual for them! Certainly, it's not nearly as watchable and well made as other similar contemporary films like "Mortal Storm" and "Confessions of a Nazi Spy". Worth seeing nonetheless.
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